Former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who was anti-marijuana, now works for Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as a senior adviser. In New York, MPP will be working to strengthen the state’s medical marijuana program. D’Amato hinted that MPP may partake in discussions about recreational legalization.
Landon Dais was also hired to become MPP’s New York political director, according to NY Daily News. D’Amato was a NY senator from 1981 – 1999. Both D’Amato and Dais believe that NY’s struggling medical marijuana program can become a national leader.
D’Amato said, “The (state) Health Department and the governor’s office have come a long way in making the utilization of medical marijuana easier, better, more professional. That’s a work in progress.”
MPP plans to work on Governor Cuomo in regards to allowing access to veterans with PTSD. Public education and educating medical professionals are also main goals to achieve.
D’Amato said, “I’m happy to see we have really moved in the right direction in New York.”
According to D’Amato, New York should move toward legalizing adult recreational use. The former senator hasn’t taken a position publicly regarding recreational marijuana.
He did, however, say, “If we want to be realistic, you’ve got to look at the nation, what is taking place around us. It’s been implemented in (seven) states.”
He also said, “The conversation and the discussion about adult use and the legalization of adult use is taking place and will be taking place. There is no doubt that that is something that will come more and more to the forefront as time goes on.”
Regarding New York, D’Amato said, “It’s not something we’re promoting but it’s something that’s taking place around the country and we can’t be naïve to it.”
D’Amato’s perception of marijuana began to change in 2009 following a discussion with Howard Stern. He served with AG Sessions in the Senate. He did knock Sessions for wanting to crackdown on legal medical and recreational marijuana industries.
He said, “It’s a ridiculous position. I say how can you on the one hand be for states’ rights and on the other hand say the states that have legalized the use of marijuana, that you’re not going to recognize that. You can’t be a states’ rights person only when you like what the states are doing and not what the feds are doing. It’s one of the other.”