New York State Government Promises Legalize Of Marijuana

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen here on May 16,
Will New York become the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana? Lawmakers are hoping recent changes to a bill will attract Gov. Andrew Cuomo's support.

For more than a year, city and state officials have taken steps toward possible legalization, with public listening sessions and government reports leading to legislative efforts to produce a bill. But after the legislation was dropped from the budget in March, much of the enthusiasm from lawmakers in Albany has waned.

Legislators hope a bill amendment filed Friday will put the legalization measure back on track before the end of the legislative session on June 19.

State legislators on Friday filed an amendment to a bill proposed four months ago by Sen. Liz Krueger and Rep. Crystal Peoples-Stokes that would legalize recreational use of marijuana and set aside specific amounts of tax revenue from regulating the drug to benefit communities disproportionately targeted by drug enforcement.

The amendment would increase the proposed taxes on marijuana; lower the amount of pot an individual can possess; expunge low-level marijuana convictions, and allow the governor to appoint someone to oversee an Office of Cannabis Management, The Buffalo News reported. Additionally, the revised bill would extend priority for licenses to the family members of people who were convicted of a marijuana-related crime.

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