WOODBURY - Officials say New York is looking to become the latest state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

A bill was introduced today in Manhattan to make marijuana legal for use by the general public.

The proposal would remove penalties for anyone who has possession of two ounces of marijuana or less. It would also make it legal to possess and consume the drug if the user is at least 18 years old.

However, it would not be legal to purchase marijuana unless the buyer is at least 21. Additionally, the proposal would allow residents to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home.

Advocates of the proposal say that marijuana should be treated and taxed in a similar way to alcohol.

Critics say the legalization plan sends a bad message to children.

“We're in the midst of a public health crisis,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “Legalizing marijuana only deepens that crisis.”

If the state legislature were to pass this bill, it would make New York the third in the country, joining Washington and Colorado, to legalize marijuana for general or recreational use. There are 20 states that have legalized medicinal marijuana.