Rochester town hall on marijuana legalization

Local News

New York lawmakers are closer to legalizing recreational cannabis than ever before. Currently, there are two different proposals that would allow adults to use marijuana.

One is from governor Cuomo, who included it in his executive budget proposal for the first time ever this year, and the other, called “the marijuana regulation and taxation act” was introduced in the assembly for the fourth year in a row.

A town hall meeting took place in Rochester for residents with questions and concerns

“We are the flower city for a reason, so we may as well leverage this beautiful flower,”  said Michael Iulucci, who is a hemp and cbd product manufacturer, who says he’s got a big stake in the future of legalization for the state.

Steven Van de Walle, of ROc Norml, which hosted the event said, “we have an opportunity to put Rochester back on the map and make it the beating heart of the cannabis industry, and we need to bring all the key players to the table even if we have differences of opinion.”

While some, like Iulucci are invested in this debate for financial reasons, the leaders of Roc Norml who hosted the town hall and acknowledge that financial gains are part of it, but add that it’s about more than recreation, more than business.

“First and foremost the thing we have to discuss is social and racial justice because while we’re talking about the potential, we forget there are people who have been locked up for many years,” said Van de Walle. 

Van de Walle says that pushing local lawmakers through community action is an important way to move the needle and help those, predominantly minority communities, who have been disproportionately penalized for possession. 

Kelly Brown, who supports legalization said, “it’s time to work it all out in a fair way that meets everyone’s needs and benefits those who have been harmed the most.”

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