Gov. Cuomo renews effort to legalize recreational marijuana statewide

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is vowing to make recreational marijuana legal in New York in 2020.

Cuomo made his intentions clear at his State of the State address Wednesday. But it will be easier said than done.

Some Long Island residents News 12 spoke to are opposed to the idea.

"I don't think it should be legalized," says William Sordjan, of Medford. "I don't really want to walk down the street and see people smoking marijuana."

Cuomo says that a legalized marijuana program could bring in $300 million per year in tax revenue when it's fully implemented.

Supporters say marijuana is already being sold legally in 11 states, including Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.

MORE: Gov. Andrew Cuomo lays out 2020 agenda in State of the State address 

"It's being sold illegally throughout the country in mass quantities, and if we legalize it perhaps we can have more control over it," says John Pappas, of Floral Park.

Both Nassau and Suffolk announced they would be opting out of the plan last year before state lawmakers failed to pass the pot plan following disagreements over what to do with revenue.

Some detractors, like Jeff Reynolds from the Family and Children's Association, say there are plenty of issues, like limiting access to minors and impaired driving.

"We haven't created any safeguards for people who are mentally ill, who might use marijuana in a way that's harmful to them," says Reynolds. "We haven't talked about pregnant women, we haven't talked about how the products could be or couldn't be advertised ... And then finally I think the burning question for most Long Islanders is where are these stores going to be?"

Nancy Udell, director of the New York State Chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, responded positively to Cuomo's efforts, saying, "We are happy to see that social equity and small business programs will be part of the proposed plan. It is important that any bill legalizing and regulating cannabis includes opportunities for New Yorkers who have been directly impacted by the War on Drugs and must provide funds to these communities."

 

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