Various moves have built momentum toward cannabis legalization in New York. From Mayor Bill de Blasio telling the New York Police Department to stop arresting people for smoking weed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo encouraging banks to work with cannabis businesses, all signs point toward an embrace of cannabis in the Big Apple.
The state’s Health Department continued the trend on Friday. In a report the Health department stated that the “positive effects” of legalization “outweigh the potential negative impacts.” In addition, the report recommends expunging the criminal records of New Yorkers in any cannabis-related convictions.
“Numerous NYS agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation, and economics worked in developing this assessment,” the 75-page document says, according to Forbes. “No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised.”
Regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable NYS to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions.
The report also recommends that New York pursue a familiar strategy regarding righting past wrongs. As seen in San Francisco, Seattle, and San Diego, New York should “review, recall, re-sentence, potentially dismiss, and seal” past misdemeanor and felony convictions involving marijuana.
New York also has much to gain itself should the state legalize recreational marijuana. Legal sales could produce as high as $677.7 million in revenue, depending on tax rates.
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Overall the report continues laying the framework for legalization in New York. Though the report does mention, possible negative effects like how smoking could impact your lungs or making people lazy, those “areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations,” the report concludes.