NYC Welcomes Public To Marijuana "Listening Sessions"

By Victoria Kim 09/26/18

The public's feedback will help state officials draft legislation to legalize marijuana in New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York is hosting “listening sessions” across the state to gather the public’s input on marijuana legalization.

The Regulated Marijuana Listening Sessions will run from September to mid-October across New York state, as Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in August.

“Community input is critical as we work to draft balanced and comprehensive legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York,” Cuomo said at the time.

A July report commissioned by Cuomo—the Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State—concluded that the positive impacts of a regulated marijuana market outweigh the possible negative impacts, according to a press release issued in August by the governor’s office.

The feedback from the public will inform the Regulated Marijuana Workgroup, which will draft legislation to legalize marijuana in New York, that will be considered by the state legislature in the upcoming session.

“The multi-agency report identified the benefits of a regulated marijuana market, and with these listening sessions we are taking another important step to develop a model program for New York. We look forward to hearing what New Yorkers in every corner of the state have to say,” said Cuomo.

New York currently has a medical marijuana program in place, albeit with several limitations. Home cultivation, smokable medical marijuana, and edible products are not allowed under the program.

The report—which assessed the impact of a legal marijuana system in New York from a health, economic, public safety and criminal justice perspective—also stated that potential areas of concern can be mitigated through regulation and public education.

“Input from communities in every region of the state is an essential part of our approach to a regulated marijuana program,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in August. “With a thoughtful process, New York is moving forward to craft a policy that will ensure continued progress across our state.”

The remaining listening sessions are listed below:

Sept. 26 - Staten Island

Sept. 27 - Long Island

Oct. 1 - Newburgh

Oct. 2 - Binghamton

Oct. 3 - Buffalo

Oct. 4 - Rochester

Oct. 9 - Syracuse

Oct. 10 - Utica

Oct. 11 - Watertown

For more information on locations and pre-registration, visit the New York state website.

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