Crystal Peoples Stokes speaking at a mural dedication event at the Northland Workforce Training Center. September 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

State Assembly Majority Leader Says It's Time to Legalize

Crystal Peoples-Stokes still hopeful despite governor's comments

June 04, 2019 - 12:22 pm

ALBANY (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo conveyed pessimism regarding a potential recreational marijuana legalization bill passing in the state legislature this year. 

Of course, there appeared to be so much optimism and momentum at the beginning of the year, when Cuomo said legalization is a matter of "when not if," but the governor is now saying that there might not be sufficient support in the State Senate.

Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the majority leader in the State Assembly and longtime supporter of adult-use marijuana legalization, was on with WBEN Tuesday morning to discuss the status of a potential bill and whether she possesses the same pessimism as Cuomo.

"In some ways it looks like it was just a political attempt to say we were on the right side of the issue, and there could have been some people from the Long Island area," said Peoples-Stokes. "I'm not suggesting that we should push this forward because everybody else is doing it or we should push this forward because there's an opportunity to make money, but we should push this forward because it's the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do when we brought it up, and it's the right thing to do now."

In New York, one of the most progressive states in the Unites States, legalization supporters from the public can't seem to understand why there's a holdup when the number of other states passing similar legislation is climbing.

While Peoples-Stokes said New York shouldn't pass legislation simply to copy what other states are doing, she said New York residents are already traveling across state lines to buy marijuana.

"There's been some research to look into it, where people are actually going to Massachusetts on a regular basis," she said. "Most of the people standing in line over there are not people from Massachusetts, they're people from New York."

Ultimately, she's much more hopeful than Cuomo that a bill could get done this year before the June 19 deadline.

"I would see it as New York missing an opportunity, so we'd have to go at it again next year, but I don't think that's going to happen," she continues. "I think it will happen this year."

Listen to the full conversation with Peoples-Stokes below:

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