Legalized marijuana

New York becomes the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana... but what if your town decides to say no? Municipalities will have some discretion over what is allowed, and what is restricted. Smoking in town parks? Dispensaries? Home cultivation? There is likely to be heated debate in the months to come; some towns are already hearing from residents who are concerned about "family values."

Our guests discuss what's next: 


Now that New York State has legalized recreational marijuana, there are still a number of questions to be answered, including how police will determine if someone is too impaired by pot to drive.

A Victor company called Cognivue is trying to help answer that question.

Social justice fuels fight for legal pot

Apr 2, 2021
Illustration by Jacob Walsh

Cedric Cotton was 14 when he fell in with the wrong crowd. He left his mother’s house, dropped out of school, and started slinging bags of weed on the streets of Rochester.

Like many dealers, he built a criminal record and served stints in jail on a variety of charges. Every time he was released and contemplated going straight, he found himself trapped in the same cycle: further from finishing school, finding a job, and ditching dealing. With each new charge was a new obstacle to building a better life for himself.

So he stuck with it. He felt he had no choice.

New York Now

Opponents of legalizing marijuana in New York made a last-ditch attempt on Monday to stall the issue, saying concerns still remain over a handful of issues, including the ability to detect when someone is driving while impaired by the drug.

Democrats could vote as soon as Tuesday afternoon on legislation introduced over the weekend to legalize marijuana in New York for recreational, adult use.


New York will legalize marijuana for adult, recreational use after Democrats struck a deal on the issue Saturday, with a vote expected in the next week from the state Legislature.

The agreement is the result of years of negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature in New York, which will become the 16th state to approve legalization.

Lead sponsors Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, and State Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, cheered the agreement in statements Saturday evening.

Warren eyes using pot revenue for reparations

Mar 26, 2021
Max Schulte/WXXI News

Mayor Lovely Warren said Friday that she is launching an effort to explore paying reparations to Black and brown city residents using tax revenues generated through the legal marijuana market.

The mayor said she was eyeing reparations and homeownership initiatives, including what she called a “universal basic income program.” Universal basic income, or UBI, generally involves giving a fixed government subsidy to every adult on a regular basis.

New York Now


The state Legislature is close to a deal on legalizing marijuana for recreational, adult use in New York, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday, with lawmakers now trying to move on the issue in the next two weeks.

Heastie, D-Bronx, said Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, are near an agreement, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears to be moving closer to their proposal.


In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the legalization of marijuana sales is overdue and needs to get done as part of the state’s budget process, largely because the state needs the revenue in order to bridge its budget gap. 

The Cuomo administration projects that legalizing sales would create more than 60,000 new jobs, $3.5 billion in economic activity and add about $350 million in tax revenue.

“It is a controversial topic,” said Cuomo. “It's controversial and a difficult vote. I believe that if we don’t get it done by the budget, then we’re not gonna get it done.”

Dan Clark/WMHT

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is amending his proposal to legalize marijuana for adult, recreational use in New York to allow delivery of cannabis products, reduce criminal penalties for illegal sales, and outline how a portion of tax revenue from the industry would be spent.

The amendments are part of Cuomo’s push for a deal on legalization with the Legislature, which has thrown cold water on his proposal in recent years.

New York State is on a path to legalizing recreational marijuana. Governor Cuomo says the time has come to allow adult use, regulated by New York State, and benefiting communities that have been disproportionately affected by the so-called "War on Drugs."

So what would legal cannabis look like in this state? And what should it look like? Our guests: