Legislature votes to legalize recreational marijuana | WNYT.com

Legislature votes to legalize recreational marijuana

Jonathan Hunter
Updated: March 31, 2021 09:32 AM
Created: March 30, 2021 11:56 PM

After being debated for hours, both the Senate and Assembly voted to pass the bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in New York. 

Lawmakers discussed the matter for a long time Tuesday night. The Senate voted 40 to 23. The Assembly voted 100 to 49. We spoke to lawmakers on both sides of the issue to get their thoughts on the matter. Many say this is a complicated bill. 

Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald says he supports the bill for a couple of reasons. He believes this is a way to correct the wrongs that were done to the Black and Brown communities. As a pharmacist, he isn’t in favor of people smoking but believes if you legalize it, you can regulate it. Republican Assemblyman Robert Smullen does not support the legislation. He supports medical marijuana and decriminalization. However, he believes if you legalize recreational marijuana, it will be damaging to the state financially and from a health standpoint.
"So might it be best for us, as opposed to living with a street market that’s unregulated, that doesn’t care about quality control, that really doesn’t care about the outcome of the individual their selling these drugs to, that we have a standardized market," said John Mcdonald, a Democratic Assembly.  

“There will be many more car crashes. There will be a lot more hospitalizations. There will be chronic respiratory problems. What we’re doing is encouraging people to do is smoke more," said Robert Smullen, assemblyman for the 118th district. 
The next step would be for  Gov. Cuomo to sign the bill. It is estimated to take 18 months to 2 years before it will be legalized in the state. The tax revenue is estimated to bring $350 million dollars to New York. While many Democrats say that revenue could be used for good, Republicans say that’s not a lot of money looking at the overall state budget. 

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