Expect Recreational Marijuana Use to be Legalized in New York

Peyton Gouzien | @PGouzien

Ten states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while medical use of the substance is now legal in 33 states. New York is one of these 33 states and has made several moves towards the legalization of recreational use. In the past year, several legislative efforts have been mounted in the state government and in the New York City government to move towards legalization. Most recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo had included a plan to make recreational marijuana legal in the budget. In the legislature it saw opposition over a usage age of 21. In addition to that, concerns over how tax revenue would be used came up. This opposition led to the proposal to be removed from the budget, but state leaders and counties still believe a policy that lets counties and cities opt out may soon pass.

Local Governments Still Believe Legalization is Coming

 Voicing belief that marijuana legalization will “inevitably be pushed through legislatively”, Councilwoman Amy Standaert of Clifton Park spoke on it. Councilwoman Standaert said that the Town of Clifton Park decided “to establish a committee comprised of area’s experts and representatives from various perspectives”.  Also, she added that its purpose would be “To proactively protect our town as we alone will not have the choice to opt-out”. Clifton Park joins many counties in being in favor of opting out if legalization happened. This being a growing list that includes Nassau and Suffolk counties in Long Island.

Popular Support remains at a Majority

Despite counties objections, recreational marijuana legalization remains a popular among New York voters. Around 57% of voters in support of it, according to a NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll. A Quinnipiac University poll shows similar data, furthering many voters support the erasing of criminal convictions of those convicted for marijuana crimes. Though Schools and Health officials remain at the forefront of trying push back votes on the subject. Schools remain a potent voice in opposition to legalization, according to the Democrat Chronicle. In a letter to state legislatures, the state PTA cited “serious public and child health threats” as reasoning for opposition. Despite this the state legislature is still making moves towards dealing the issue after the recent passing of the budget.

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