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Editorial: Pols vs Polls

When the New York State Assembly and Senate both passed the Compassionate Care Act last Friday, it was only succumbing to the will of the people. According to the TK NAME OF YOUR PAPER’S online poll, more than 68% responding support medical marijuana, with 25% opposed and 6% undecided.

Our results mirror other findings. Most recently, Quinnipiac found support for medical marijuana in Florida rose from 82% of registered voters in May 2013 to 88% of registered voters in May 2014. An international poll by the New England Journal of Medicine found 76% of physicians worldwide would allowing medical marijuana, with 24% opposed (and none undecided). In 2011, CBS News found 77% of adults nationwide in favor; 17% against. An AARP poll as far back as 2004 saw support from 72% of adults nationwide.

If only we could believe our pols are driven by the will of the people. If so, we’d have fewer guns and more health insurance. But when the smoke clears, we see a political calculation, driven less by what’s good for the public than by incumbents’ re-election prospects.

And that’s a bummer.