Cuomo Admin. Report: Legalizing Marijuana In New York State Would Benefit Public

July 13, 2018 - 1:21 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- The announcement came back in January that the Cuomo administration wanted to study the effects of marijuana legalization.

That study is now out, from state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, saying legalizing marijuana only benefits the public.

“So we brought together in the department the experts from all across the government – State of New York – as well as outside stakeholders,” Zucker said. We looked at public safety, public health, economics.”

The report covered a variety of topics, mentioning racial disparities in arrests for marijuana possession. The report also said governed regulation could ensure quality control and consumer protection, with rules in place for the production, testing, labeling, and distribution of marijuana.

The report further said the state stands to bring in about $340 million in tax revenue in the first year of legalization.

As WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported, Zucker told reporters last month the facts have changed, namely that neighboring Vermont and Massachusetts are legalizing this year. Just last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called marijuana a "gateway drug."

The report also mentions the potential for substantial new revenue to come in as a result.

The Cuomo administration’s leftward move on the issue comes as Cuomo faces a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, who favors legal recreational marijuana.

The administration is also moving to expand the medical cannabis program, allowing it to be prescribed in any situation where doctors would otherwise recommend opioids.