NYS Assembly member calls for broader discussion about legalizing marijuana

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A top lawmaker in New York says that if the state legalizes recreational marijuana it should also consider expunging marijuana-related criminal records that can make it harder for many people to find jobs or housing.

Democratic state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told state Capitol reporters Wednesday that he wants to broaden the debate about legalizing marijuana to include proposals to help those still struggling in the shadow of past criminal convictions for the drug.

A state task force created by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is poised to release a report on possible legalization. Bills that would subject marijuana use to regulations and taxes have long been introduced in the Legislature and are getting fresh attention in the face of evolving attitudes about marijuana.

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