What's Next for Legal Weed After State Budget Process

Supporters Still Think Measure Will Pass This Year

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Albany, NY (WBEN) - A bill to legalize marijuana in New York State did not pass with the state budget as originally planed, but supporters are still hopeful it will happen this year. 

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul said it's one of the Governor's top priorities that still needs to be taken care of.

"There's a few initiatives that we still need to get through  before the end of the year," Hochul told WBEN. "One of them is the legalization of marijuana to make sure we have certainty and people understand that they will not be incarcerated for something that's legal in Canada and neighboring states."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan is among those confident legalizing marijuana will happen this year.

"I would predict that it's going to happen before June," Ryan said. "We're trying quickly to learn what has Colorado done that's good and bad, what has California done that's good and bad, so we're learning on the fly. As I said before, we have to make sure we get the regulatory system right, or the illegal sales will still continue."

Ryan added that he believes there is no one particular aspect of legalization that is holding legislation up.

While New York state is moving slower than once thought, Ontario’s first brick-and-mortar cannabis stores are set to open today. There are 25 stores across the province that could launch today.

Recreational cannabis has so far only been available for purchase legally in Ontario through a government-run website.

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