Another barrier to legalized pot in New York went up in smoke Monday after the state’s health commissioner said he will recommend New York allow adults to consume marijuana legally.
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons – and the report recommends that a regulated, legal marijuana program be available to adults in the state of New York,” Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said at an event in Brooklyln, the State of Politics blog first reported.
“I will finalize that report soon and bring it to the governor.”
The announcement is a dramatic turnaround for the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who last year declared pot to be a “gateway drug.”
“We have new facts,” Zucker maintained, the blog post reported.
According to The New York Times, legalization efforts by New Jersey and Massachusetts helped shift Cuomo’s thinking.
“It was no longer ‘if,’ but ‘how,'” one unnamed source told the Times.
Legalization would require the approval of the state Legislature, whose session ends Wednesday.
The Cuomo administration’s support of legal marijuana gives the governor ammo to fight back at critics of his past opposition as well as to his Democratic primary opponent, the actress Cynthia Nixon, who has already supported the idea of legal pot, the Times noted.
Advocates and some prosecutors have pushed for the decriminalization and eventual legalization of the drug, saying minorities are disproportionately targeted by police officers for marijuana arrests. Both the Brooklyn and Manhattan DAs have announced they would stop prosecuting most pot possession cases, the New York Post noted.
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