WOODBURY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal includes funding for a study on legalizing recreational marijuana.
“This is an important topic…and it would be nice to have some facts in the middle of the debate,” the governor said.
Gov. Cuomo’s call to examine the costs, benefits and legal risks of legalizing cannabis marks a reversal of his position. Last February, the governor said, “It’s a gateway drug, and marijuana leads to other drugs and there’s a lot of proof that that’s true. There’s two sides to the argument. But I, as of this date, I am unconvinced on recreational marijuana.”
Doug Greene, of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, applauds the new move but believes it’s just talk.
“What we know he’s serious about is getting re-elected, and this is a good political move on his part to try and make it seem he’s addressing the issue,” says Greene.
Greene and other critics say Cuomo’s decision to consider the legalization of marijuana is likely driven by public opinion and fiscal pressure. Last November, a poll from Emerson College found taxing sales on legal marijuana was a far more popular way of closing the state’s budget deficit than raising taxes.
“All the people who came in [the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence], they didn’t start with heroin, they started with alcohol and marijuana, 100 percent of the time,” says Chassman.
The governor says a big consideration in calling for the study is that neighboring states have legalized or are in the process of legalizing recreational marijuana. In total, eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana.
Cuomo says he wants the Department of Health to work with New York State Police and other agencies to study the issue.
For more than 60 years, LICADD has successfully delivered evidence-based programs designed to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction. LICADD offers crisis intervention, screenings, brief interventions, referrals to treatment and several family and parent education workshops to help Long Islanders struggling with the effects of addiction. Through our Open Arms, EAP Program, LICADD has provided targeted solution-focused support to companies all along the East Coast, serving over 60,000 employees and their families.
LICADD is Long Island’s premier non-profit agency providing life-saving alcohol and drug prevention and intervention services to at-risk children, individuals, and families across the region. With offices in Mineola, Holbrook and Riverhead, LICADD conducts evidence-based prevention programs, community outreach initiatives, and a mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and public policy advocacy.
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