Marijuana Legalization

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

NY Health Commissioner On Legalizing Marijuana: 'The Pros Outweigh The Cons'

June 19, 2018 - 8:14 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- New York's top health official will recommend legalizing recreational marijuana.

It's a significant shift in thinking. Just last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called marijuana a gateway drug and now his health commissioner, Howard Zucker, is poised to recommend the legalization of pot for recreational use.

"We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons and when we were done we realized that the pros outweigh the cons," Zucker said.

In January, Cuomo asked for a study in light of changing circumstances. The study looked at public health, public safety and taxation.

"When those facts change we need to look at things differently, we need to do a better analysis or a an analysis of them," Zucker said.

Other states are moving towards legal pot so tax revenue is at stake and there's been an outcry from minority communities where low-level pot arrests are disproportianately higher.

In her bid for governer, Cuomo's challenger Cynthia Nixon has embraced legal pot and criminal justice reform.

The next step is the State Legislature, where Senate Republicans might not be too receptive.