Deal struck to legalize pot in New York

WWNY Deal struck to legalize pot in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - There is a deal to legalize recreational marijuana in New York state, multiple news outlets reported Wednesday afternoon.

Plus, there would be an additional tax based on the potency of the marijuana.

Marijuana would be sold through state-licensed dispensaries, and people would be able to grow their own plants for personal use.

Word of the deal came just a few hours after Governor Cuomo declared at a press conference that legalizing recreational cannabis was a top priority.

“Should have been done three years ago. Should have been done two years ago. It’s like casino gaming. It’s like legalizing marriage equality,” Cuomo said.

“It’s in New Jersey. It’s in Massachusetts. To say we’re going to stop it is not an option.”

The state stands to make between $300 and $350 million a year from legal pot, though critics have argued there are hidden costs associated the drug - for instance, more traffic accidents - which will cut into how much money the state actually makes.

“We already have a drug crisis in the United States and the idea that we’ll legalize more drugs, I think, is a step in the wrong direction,” said Will Barclay, state Assemblyman from Pulaski who leads Republicans in the Assembly.

The question of how to treat people who use the drug and then drive has apparently been resolved.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, said “We have gotten past the impasse of impaired driving.” She suggested there will be state money for research into ways police can detect whether a driver is high.

Right now, driving while stoned on marijuana is a misdemeanor in New York state.

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