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New York Legislatures Push for Recreational Marijuana Legalization

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Some members of New York’s Democratic party say that marijuana should be taxed and regulated, and they’ve reintroduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. It calls for a legal marijuana market and says decriminalization still hurts “communities of color.”

New York’s legislative session ends in just two weeks so support for this bill may be coming a bit late, according to Press Connects. Governor Cuomo is not supportive of legal marijuana. Some believe the Republican-dominant Senate will also pose a problem for moving this bill forward.

Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “This is not about usage. This is about making sure we are making smart decisions on behalf of our state economically and making sure the prohibitions that are in our communities of color are taken away.”

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes sponsors the legalization bill. She says the goal is “to build support for the measure”. She noted Cuomo’s previous opposition of medical marijuana, later changing his mind as he signed medical marijuana into law in 2014.

Peoples-Stokes said, “Time changes people’s opinion. Public opinion changes people’s minds, and so what this is about growing attention to an issue that is really important.”

Cuomo does support decriminalization, but legislation hasn’t passed the state’s Senate yet. As recently as February, Cuomo voiced that he isn’t ready to support marijuana legalization.

At that time, he said, “There’s two sides to the argument, but I, as of this date, I am unconvinced on recreational marijuana. If you choose to use marijuana recreationally, you know the law.”

Updates should come as the legislative session winds down.