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legal marijuana

Governor Cuomo's office

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania met Thursday in New York City to try to hash out a multi-state approach to legalizing the adult recreational use of marijuana. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the governors are trying to adopt a unified approach to legalization to avoid their residents crossing borders and going to other states where the laws might be more expansive or the taxes might be lower.

At a conference on marijuana hosted by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, law enforcement officials acknowledged that current laws around the drug are not enforced equally.

“We want to treat everybody equally, obviously, and we’re not doing that,” said Monroe County Undersheriff Korey Brown, speaking on a panel about legal issues surrounding marijuana. “So we need to make a change.”

Brown said people of color and people who live in impoverished neighborhoods often bear the brunt of policing, especially when it comes to marijuana.

If marijuana is legalized how will it impact local jobs, the workforce, healthcare, and other aspects of daily living? That’s what reporters in the WXXI newsroom have been tracking down. Reporters James Brown and Brett Dahlberg join this edition of Need to Know share their findings and some of the challenges they encountered in their research.

Advocates for recreational cannabis say it will be a money-maker for New York and an opportunity to launch new business, small and large. It’s estimated that legalizing weed in New York could generate more than $1.7 billion in sales each year. WXXI’s Hélène Biandudi Hofer met two local entrepreneurs of color who see a legal weed industry as not only a chance to make money, but to also educate and destigmatize cannabis. However, they question if the so-called “green rush” will be equitable and benefit those targeted by the war on drugs. Rochester’s Roc NORML weighs in on this issue and shares how they’re working with legislators to ensure equal access to the cannabis industry.

WATCH: Looking at the effects of legalized pot in New York

Apr 11, 2019

To legalize or not to legalize, that’s the big question in the Empire State when it comes to recreational marijuana. While the deal was a no-go in the recently passed state budget, proponents say it will happen and we all need to get ready for it. But organizations who oppose the legalization of pot are expected to use the delay to try to prevent the legislation from passing. On this special edition of Need to Know, the WXXI News team examines how cannabis could potentially affect our community, including jobs, health care, and the economy.

wnyc.org

With recreational marijuana on the horizon, how could New Yorkers expect the culture to change?

The push for cannabis regulation and prohibition began in the early 1900s, and really took off in the 1930s.

Nick Robertson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Rochester Institute of Technology, said this was due in large part to propaganda like the film “Reefer Madness.”

"If you smoke marijuana, you were gonna go crazy," he said. "You were going to do horrible things, it would destroy your life, and ever since then, there’s been a stigma attached."

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature indicate they’re moving closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, users and prescribers of medical cannabis – particularly in rural areas – have been wondering what the change will mean for them.

New York state keeps a list of medical marijuana practitioners in each county who agree to be named publicly.

Coming up on NTK: How will legalized pot work in New York?

Apr 9, 2019

Coming up on an all-new Need to Know, the New York state budget may not have included recreational marijuana, but supporters of the legislation say it will happen and that it’s time to get ready for it. The WXXI newsroom explores the potential impact of recreational cannabis on entrepreneurs, employers, criminalized communities, and more. Join us for a special edition of Need to Know, Thursday night at 8:00 on WXXI-TV.

James Brown WXXI

When you walk into Optimax, you instantly hear the buzz of people at work on millions of dollars’ worth of machinery.  

The Victor company is an optical manufacturer known for creating the lenses for the 2020 Mars rover. It’s tough to imagine people using these machines while high. But with legal recreational marijuana a real possibility in New York state, that’s something the folks at Optimax are thinking about now.

wnyc.org

New Yorkers will have to wait until after the state budget to see legal sales of marijuana in the state – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that it’s not likely to be agreed to by the spending plan’s April 1 deadline.  

Cuomo said it’s going to take longer than the next three weeks to set up a complicated system of production and distribution of cannabis and decide on the competing ideas for how to use the revenue from sales.

He also said there’s been some blowback from opponents and concerns about protecting children from having access to the drug.