Recent listening sessions across the state of New York have provided a better idea of what legislation would gain support in regard to legalizing recreational marijuana use. For state residents, support for the measure is there. It comes down to what it would mean for those who already serve time for marijuana-related convictions and how the marijuana will be made available to the public.
Alphonso David, counsel to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, stated that the legislation will be made for adults over the age of 21. The likely timeframe is for some time in 2019, David noted.
The potential tax structure for marijuana sales is still in the works, meaning the timeframe could be extended if the process is more time-consuming than expected.
Meanwhile, it pays to take a look at the biggest lobbying factions within NY who hope to see legalization become a reality. With a total of $3 million spent on lobbying for marijuana legalization in the last five years, the issue is obviously an important one to businesses within the state.
The big contributors include Vireo Health and Etain, medical marijuana companies based in NY counties who hope to see a bigger chunk of the potential revenue if recreational use is legalized as well.
Those who support marijuana legalization maintain that lobbying and the related funds are a means to the end of making sure those who need medical marijuana have access. They also believe that removing the stigma against the drug is important when cultural perception is fluid. Those who do not support legalization feel the drug is receiving too much acceptance, which could lead to danger to those who choose to use it.
Parents who have lost children to drug overdose maintain that the jump to harder drugs, such as heroin, started with marijuana use. These individuals fight for the safety of children and state residents, as they fear the increase of drug use will correlate with increased crime and danger due to driving while under the influence of a legal drug.
Similar to alcohol, the concern is that the drug will severely impede those who drive after consuming, making the road dangerous even for those who don’t choose to use marijuana.