ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An agreement to legalize recreational marijuana is near.
State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins says legislation is extremely close to getting passed through the assembly.
Stewart Cousins also says legalizing marijuana will have a large impact on the criminal justice system.
“It’s no secret at this point how desperately black and brown communities have been by the disproportionate arrests and incarcerations of people with marijuana so we know it will have a criminal justice aspect,” she said.
Stewart Cousins says communities will see an economic benefit to legalizing marijuana.
New York Assemblyman, Phil Palmesano said legalizing marijuana is not the best way to build the states economy.
“Quite frankly, I don’t care how much money this can generate for a state, it’s not worth the costs that will come along with it,” Assemblyman Palmesano said. “The costs are our public safety, the cost to our public health, the cost to our kids, the cost to our social service organizations or law enforcement agencies and that will be borne by the property taxpayers. I think also the cost to the quality of life I just don’t think this is a good idea. I don’t think we should be advancing it, I don’t think it’s necessarily needed here in New York.”
The state sheriff’s association remains opposed to legalization, saying it will make roads less safe and encourage marijuana use among teens.
The Chemung County Sheriff said legalizing marijuana could be a gateway to other hard drugs in the future.
“You’ll have arguments both ways, for and against it,” said Sheriff Bill Schrom. “I can tell you from my experience, people that are addicted to hardcore drugs, every single one of them started out with marijuana. So, you know, there’s just another argument why you shouldn’t make it easier, easier for people to get.”