New York State Assembly members are hosting a public hearing today to discuss potentially legalizing adult-use cannabis in The Empire State, according to The Associated Press.
The hearing, which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at the Babylon Town Hall on Long Island, is intended for gathering input and experience from other state-legal cannabis markets. It is the fourth public hearing related to cannabis legalization that New York lawmakers have held this year, though a long series of listening sessions earlier this year demonstrated a legislative willingness to hear public input on the issue.
At the most recent public hearing — held November 20 in Binghamton — Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried said the hearings are supposed to cover more than just whether or not New York should legalize.
“Not only about is it a good idea or bad idea. But also about what are the mechanics of it. Creating a new industry is a complicated thing. We haven’t done that in New York since the end of prohibition in 1933.” — Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, via Metro.us
Assemblyman Gottfried has been a champion for cannabis reforms in New York for a large part of his career, having started first advocating for medical cannabis there some 20 years ago and recently having introduced a bill that would subsidize medical cannabis with health insurance.
Legalization is growing more and more attractive to New York as nearby Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont have already passed adult-use cannabis laws (though only Maine and Massachusetts have established rules for a taxed-and-regulated system).
Lawmakers are expected to begin seriously looking at legalization legislation once the 2019 legislative session kicks off next month.
If it successfully legalizes cannabis next year, New York would be the 10th U.S. state to allow for adult-use cannabis.