CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – Governor Cuomo pushed for legalization of recreational marijuana as one of the options to help gain revenue for the State to close out the $6.1 billion budget deficit.
Medical marijuana is legal in New York State and is decriminalized.
If legalized, recreational marijuana is estimated to bring in $700 million in tax revenue according to the Department of Health.
However, some local officials believe that the unforeseen costs to the legalization of marijuana will be high.
Steuben District Attorney Brooks Baker uses drivers under the influence as an example.
“So the legal process is much like a drunk driving case,” says Baker. “Right now we use specialized officers for that they’re called drug recognition experts.”
He says there will be extra costs to train new specialized officers for drug driving incidents.
“If marijuana becomes legal, there will be a spike in arrests,” says Baker. “We’re going to have to double, triple, quadruple the number of officers who have that kind of training.”
Baker continued to note his fear that marijuana is a gateway drug and would be a bad move during the current opioid crisis.
However, according to the National Institute on Drug addiction, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use harder substances.
A study from the University of Colorado claims that legalization of recreational marijuana potentially reduces fatalities and injuries on the road pointing out that drivers tend to drive slower and take fewer risks.