Albany County District Attorney David Soares is anticipating full marijuana legalization in New York. He does favor legalization as it would provide an economic boost for the state. Soares also says that legalization may help fight the state’s opioid epidemic.
In preparation for change, the DA has scheduled public meetings discussing the subject, according to News 10. The meetings are to gauge public opinion. Neighboring states have already legalized marijuana and he believes New York isn’t far behind.
Soares said, “What are we going to do in the meantime as our leaders develop state laws and regulations?”
He also said, “The dollars that have been associated with the illicit economy are $3 billion. Marijuana medically is being used as a pain medicine and pain medication.”
Carl Heastie, the Assembly Speaker, wants to expunge marijuana convictions when legalization occurs.
Heastie said, “Why should people now still be having trouble getting jobs and having a record for something that now could be legal.”
The Albany County Sheriff, Craig Apple, isn’t opposing decriminalization or legalization either. He simply voiced that a “big conversation” needs to take place first.
The Sheriff said, “You also have ramifications such as DWAIs and things like that. People just can’t go around and smoke marijuana wherever they want.”
The Sheriff envisions marijuana regulation similar to how alcohol is regulated.
He said, “I don’t want to see people out in our parks smoking marijuana. I don’t want to see people walking down the street smoking marijuana.”
Soares and Heastie both want proper distributions of the tax revenue to be done properly.
Heastie said, “I think that we should look at ways to spend that money in a productive way.”
Soares wants a definitive plan put in place that allows money to go back into the communities that the war on marijuana has impacted the most. He also wants some of those tax dollars to help create jobs.
He said, “Give a kid a job, create job opportunities and they will get off the corners.”
The upcoming public meetings are scheduled for:
- June 6 at 6 p.m. – Albany Public Library
- June 11 at 6 p.m. – Berne Public Library
- June 13 at 6 p.m. – Guilderland Public Library
- June 18 at 6 p.m. – Cohoes Public Library
- June 20 at 6 p.m. – Bethlehem Public Library
Those that are unable to attend any of the scheduled public meetings can voice their opinions by completing an online survey located on the Albany County District Attorney’s website.