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Will the State Legislature and Governor Cuomo Legalize Recreational Marijuana?

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Darrin Harris Frisby
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Drug Policy Alliance

New York legalized marijuana for medical purposes; however, it continues to be holding-out on legalizing the drug for recreational use.  N.Y. Grows is advocating the State Legislature and the Governor to consider taking up companion legislation to follow the lead of eight other states.  They say launching the industry in New York would generate an estimated $600 million dollars in annual revenue.  Spokesperson Joel Giambra says the extra money for the state could be used to repair or replace roads and bridges.

“New York State is, I believe number 49 in regards to having the worst infrastructure in the country, that it makes more sense to put those dollars into infrastructure where you’re going to get a very significant multiplier effect and the number of jobs that would be created from this activity would be significant.”

Giambra spend two terms as the County Executive for Erie County and ten years as the Controller for the City of Buffalo and has always believed that prohibition is not an effective drug policy.  He says evidence and data suggests there’s another benefit to legalizing the drug.

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Credit NY Grows Website.
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Joel Giambra

“In states where marijuana has been legal for about 3 years, that they’ve seen a 25 percent reduction in the use of opiates.  So there’s some scholars and others who believe that legalizing marijuana maybe and effective means to mitigate the heroin epidemic that’s going around this country.”

The heroin and opioid abuse epidemic continues to be a problem in Onondaga County.  The Director of      A.C.R. Health in Syracuse, Wil Murtaugh is waiting to hear about more about the research to conclusively help addicts.

“Some of the people we deal with that are addicted to heroin and they come off and they’re struggling, they have said to us that they’ve tried marijuana on their own and that it had helped them with the craving.  So, there is a possibility that it could potentially decrease opiate use, I believe.”

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Credit Darrin Harris Frisby / Drug Policy Alliance
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Drug Policy Alliance
A diverse group of adults take in a movie while smoking marijuana.

An economist with N.Y. Grows also estimates another $1.2 billion dollars could be saved in criminal justice costs by legalizing marijuana.  Click here to visit their website.