The majority leader of the New York State Senate says an agreement on legalizing recreational marijuana is “extremely close”.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says senators have ironed out many of the details surrounding the measure, however there is one area which has created a bit of a hurdle.
“We have reached a little bit of an impasse right now, and it has to do with impaired driving,” Stewart-Cousins said Tuesday. “We’re trying to figure a way forward so that there will be some understanding of safety.”
Stewart-Cousins says she remains optimistic about coming to a resolution – both in the Senate and Assembly, saying it is a question of “when” and not “if”.
She stressed the measure, in addition to providing an economic benefit, also carries a critical social justice element.
“It’s no secret at this point how disparately impacted Black and Brown communities have been by the disproportionate arrests and incarcerations of people with marijuana,” she said. “So, we know that it will have a criminal justice aspect…Part of it is also making sure that these communities have the opportunities to really benefit from the economy and the industry that will be created, and that communities that have been negatively impacted are able to get resources put back into those communities. And, of course, we want the education piece, too, around general drug use and of course the safety on roads.”
Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo also expressed optimism in legalizing recreational marijuana this budget cycle, acknowledging a resolution was close to fruition.