New York Takes Big Step Towards Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

By Bryan Le 08/06/18

Governor Cuomo's big move could pave the way for New York to become the 10th US state to legalize recreational marijuana.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrives at the opening of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. The 16th Annual TFF kicked off at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the world premiere of `Clive Davis: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives,`
Governor Cuomo wants New York to go green.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made a big step towards legalizing marijuana for adult use on Thursday as he pulled together a group to write the bill, Vox reports.

The proposal is based on the recommendations of New York's Department of Health regarding the legalization and regulation of marijuana.

“As we work to implement the report’s recommendations through legislation, we must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program, including its impact on public health, criminal justice and State revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it,” wrote Cuomo in a statement.

Heading up the group writing the bill is Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, who is getting feedback from officials as well as a panel including public safety, public health, and economic experts. If the state’s legislature is satisfied with the resulting bill, they will sign it into law and make New York officially the tenth state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Cuomo’s proposal is a welcome one to the New York Health Department. In a 75-page report, the department concluded that legalization would be a net positive.

“Numerous [New York state] agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation, and economics worked in developing this assessment,” officials wrote in the report. “No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised.”

The report also backed up key points that marijuana legalization advocates have extolled for decades: the criminalization of marijuana has done nothing to stem its use, marijuana law disproportionately targets “low-income communities of color,” and that the state would not only be able to protect consumers with regulations but reap huge tax revenues as well. The report estimates this amount to be anywhere from $248.1 million to $677.7 million a year.

However, the report also makes sure to mention the precautions the state should take in legalizing, including remaining vigilant of the effects of usage among its citizens.

“A regulated marijuana program should monitor and document patterns of use to evaluate the impact of legalization on use,” the report outlined.

It also warned of the risks of marijuana, including addiction and driving while impaired.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter