CAMILLUS, N.Y. (WSYR) — Recreational marijuana could soon be legalized in New York state this year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposal last week and legislators are gearing up for negotiations, including New York State Sen. John Mannion who is in full support of the legislation.
“The fact that it’s happening, it’s prevalent, it’s easily accessible,” Mannion said. “I think that since we could regulate it to make it safer and then of course tax it as well I think is important.”
Where the revenue will go is the big question.
Mannion hopes some of it will go toward helping the state get out of its massive deficit, but says a top priority is focusing on social equity.
“I do believe that some of those dollars need to go to communities that have been most impacted. Many of the low level crimes related to marijuana have been disproportionately affected, certain populations, people of color,” he said.
Mannion is also advocating that some funds go toward addiction services and helping to solve the opioid epidemic.
If recreational marijuana is legalized, local small businesses, like Empire CBD, are hoping New York State will make it accessible for them to get in on the action.
Owner Yardley Burgess said he would love to expand his CBD stores and delve into recreational marijuana.
“I just am hoping they make it affordable so that common people can actually get into the industry, not just big businesses that already have the funds,” he said.
Mannion agrees with Burgess, saying he will advocate for small farmers and small businesses to make sure there is diverse representation in the industry.