Southern Tier Leaders Watch Progress of Legal Marijuana Bill
New York State lawmakers are said to be “imminently close” on an agreement to legalize marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21, a development local leaders are watching carefully.
In spite of countless attempts over recent years, New York not been able to get enough legislative support to pass provisions for the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Proposed measures have been supported by some criminal justice reform groups as well as some economic development analysts who tout the financial impacts and new business opportunities. Legal weed is even getting a recent buy-in from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
At least 14 states have legalized recreational marijuana.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who has sponsored Assembly legislation to legalize marijuana, says the bill is being drafted and is set to come up for a vote next week.
Past sticking points for legalization in New York have included lack of support from suburban Democrats and concerns over how to address drivers suspected of driving high.
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar (D-Port Dickinson) says he hasn’t seen the latest proposal but remains concerned about balancing issues concerning law enforcement and driving while under the influence with the purported economic benefits from taxes, fees and regulation of the legal production and sale of the product.
New York State Senator Fred Akshar (R-Binghamton), a former Broome County Undersheriff, is flat-out against legalization of marijuana. He says he’s willing to risk losing elections over the issue.