NY Gov. Cuomo names panel to draft legislation to legalize marijuana

Local News
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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants legislation in front of lawmakers by next year that would legalize marijuana for adults.

On Thursday, Cuomo appointed a 20-member working group to draft legislation for a “regulated adult-use marijuana program.” The decision follows release of a Department of Health study that concluded the positive impacts of a regulated marijuana market in New York outweigh the potential negatives.

In a statement announcing the working group, Cuomo said concerns about legalizing the substance “can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education.”

The DOH report, released July 13, found that a regulated marijuana program would allow the state to control licensing, ensure quality control and protect consumers by setting age and quantity restrictions.

“The next steps must be taken thoughtfully and deliberately,” Cuomo said in the release. “As we work to implement the report’s recommendations through legislation, we must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program, including its impact on public health, criminal justice and State revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it.”

The workgroup will be overseen by Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, and is made up of experts in public health, public safety and economics, along with the heads of more than a half dozen state agencies. 

Cuomo has sought to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana since 2012, but lawmakers rejected the proposed legislation.

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