Cuomo Still Wants Pot Legalized, Critics Push Back

Cuomo Still Wants Pot Legalized, Critics Push Back

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If you fail, try, try again. That's a motto Governor Andrew Cuomo is following when it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana in New York.

After the issue didn't make it into the recently passed state budget, the governor brought it up during a radio interview with WAMC out of Albany.

He said he wants to pass a law legalizing pot by the end of the legislative session in June.

"In the rush of the budget, we couldn't do it intelligently and we have a whole rest of the session, so I said we could sit down. We have to do that," said Cuomo

Cuomo's party, the Democrats, control the state Senate and Assembly.

But some north country lawmakers aren't on the governor's side.

"I am opposed to it. I won't be voting for it. I'm against it," said Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R. - 117th District).

Blankenbush says he stands by the belief that marijuana is a gateway drug to harder substances. Assemblyman Mark Walczyk (R. - 116th District) is also against legalization.

Senator Patty Ritchie (R. - 48th District) sent a statement to 7 News saying, "As we continue to battle the war on opioids and heroin, I do not believe now is the time to legalize any drug."

It's not just lawmakers though. Anti-drug groups in Watertown, like the Alliance for Better Communities, also oppose the governor's wish.

"We truly believe in the prevention field that marijuana is a harmful substance that, before we even think about legalization, needs to have further investigation," said Anita Seefried-Brown, project director, Alliance for Better Communities.

The final day of the legislative session is June 19.

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