NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York lawmakers on Tuesday will start the process to legalize recreational use of marijuana. A deal struck over the weekend creates guidelines for adult use and expands the medical marijuana program.
But some say the biggest impact is on communities of color that have experienced a high rate of arrests over drug use, CBS2’s Audrea Cline-Thomas reported Monday.READ MORE: 2-Year-Old Shot In Newark
Before becoming an advocate, 69-year-old Carl Stubbs spent many years in and out of the criminal justice system.
“I used to get busted for a little joint like this,” Stubbs said.
He was first exposed to marijuana as a child, thinking it was a better alternative to cigarettes. It’s a decision he’s never allowed to forget.
“It messed my life up. Sometimes it makes me cry because I couldn’t get a job,” he said.
Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state leaders have struck a deal to legalize recreational use by adults 21 and older, with guidelines on how much could be stored and grown at home.
“In order to address the systemic racism that we know exists in our society, we have to look at the war on drugs,” said Emma Goodman from the Legal Aid Society.READ MORE: Teen Shot In The Hand On Upper East Side Monday Morning
According to a 2018 comptroller’s report, seven out of 10 of the city’s lowest income neighborhoods had the highest marijuana-related arrests.
Under this new bill, police can no longer use the marijuana odor as a basis for stops and searches.
“That is the number one reason why police stop and harass our clients, especially young men,” Goodman said.
“We’re going to create another industry like the tobacco industry that will harm people for the next couple of decades,” said Dr. Thomas Madejski of the Medical Society of New York.
Dr. Madejski is part of a coalition opposing the legislation, fearing it will create more chronic users, impaired drivers and harm young adults.
“Young adults’ brains develop up to age 25,” said Madejski. “There’s some evidence that using it earlier in your life provides more difficulty with mental health issues.”
New York is poised to become the 15th state to authorize recreational marijuana use, a move state lawmakers say could generate $350 million in annual revenue.MORE NEWS: Met Gala Making Its Comeback In September
After years of wrangling in Albany, it’s nearly a done deal.