ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State has reached an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana, according to Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.
Lawmakers are finalizing a bill that would:
- Create a new state regulator for cannabis products.
- Decriminalize the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana.
- Allow New Yorkers to cultivate marijuana for personal use.
- NYS will study a new system for determining whether drivers are intoxicated because of marijuana use.
"We’re creating a better society. We're creating a better school system. We're creating a better community where it's just gonna be better for everybody," said Peoples-Stokes.
Zephyr Partners, located in San Diego, is paying close attention to the deal struck in Albany. The company plans on building a cannabis campus in South Buffalo. The facility would create over 500 jobs. The heads of the company say this news is huge.
"This is a major first stop," said Brad Termini of Zephyr Partners. "It's just about as exciting as that Bills going to the AFC championship game."
During a briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state was close to coming to a deal although he referenced the state was close to a deal three years in a row and a deal never happened. The governor also listed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use as one of the top priorities of the state budget Wednesday.
“I'm actually more confident than I have been in the past,” said Peoples-Stokes.
On March 16, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said lawmakers were “extremely close” to legalizing recreational marijuana.
The governor previously said the legalization of marijuana for recreational use would generate about $300 million a year for the state and it would stop what he called “exaggerated injustice” for minorities.
NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan (R - 59th District) previously stated he was not in support of the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“There's no discussion about public health and safety,” Gallivan said in a January 2021 interview with WKBW.
He said a deficit should not be a reason for supporting it.
"No. Not at all and I think we have to deal with public health and safety first. We don't know — there's no science that says smoking marijuana is healthy and smoking is okay and not detrimental to your health and I think that has to come first,” Gallivan explained. "We’ve got people that are advocating for the legalization of recreational simply based on the state having a deficit."
People-Stokes says official passage could come next week.