State Lawmakers finally legalized the recreational use of marijuana with the Governor signing it into law this week making it possible for residents to carry no more than 3 ounces legally. Assemblyman Al Stirpe says he supported it because it was already a $3 billion dollar unregulated industry and now it will be a legal industry. He also feels it will help communities hurt most by the War on Drugs.
“Another 40% is going to go to communities that have been harmed the most with the war on drugs, especially marijuana, and those are economically disadvantaged, mostly black and brown communities and this will help get businesses started,” said Stirpe.
Once dispensaries are allowed to operate in about 18 months, Stirpe says there will also be financial grants for entrepreneurs in those communities wishing to start their own businesses. A potential concern is educating people about how to use the drug responsibly. Kein Trease is the Community Education Leader at Prevention Network of CNY. He feels education about the effects of marijuana is changing now that its been legalized.
“There are other consequences rather than health and stuff that you need to deal with. So now I think we take it from a standpoint when we educate as similar to how we do with alcohol with it being a legal substance for those who are 21 and going through so you know, now you need to make an educated use if you’re going to use,” said Trease.
Trease worries about how people will use the drug and not have knowledge of their bodies tolerance as they experiment that could potentially lead to unintended reactions. 20% of all sales tax revenues from dispensaries will go towards a drug treatment and public education fund.