Governor Announces Marijuana Legalization "Listening Sessions"

Is legalization on the fast track?

Brian Mazurowski
August 30, 2018 - 11:17 am
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Governor Andrew Cuomo's office announced a series of 'Listening Sessions' across the state on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana. 

In a statement, the Governor said that input from the forum would be used to help craft a marijuana law for the state. A meeting in Buffalo is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3 at 6:00 in the evening. A location has not yet been announced. 

The 'Listening Sessions' will wrap up just before four separate State Assembly Committee hearings. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes will sponsor the marijuana legislation, and intends to use the series of discussions to hit the ground running when lawmakers return to Albany in January. 

"That would be my strategy," Peoples-Stokes said. "Canada has gone legal, in Massachusetts it's legal, New Jersey will be legal imminently. We want to not be left out of the process. We don't want to be reacting, we want to be proactive about it. I think we should move with some urgency in putting New York State into the current mold of engaging in a new industry."

Peoples-Stokes said she expects Buffalo to host one of four State Assembly Committee hearings in November. 

What sort of timeline should people expect when talking about legalization?

"The passage of the legislation could happen within our next session, but I think the implementation could take a tad bit longer," Peoples-Stokes said. 

Using Massachusetts as an example, voters in that state approved a ballot initiative making recreational cannabis legal in November 2016, but the state did not approve a recreational growing license until June of 2018.

You can register to take part in the Buffalo 'Listening Session' HERE.

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