A report commissioned by the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released today by the New York Department of Health recommends the legalization of cannabis, Syracuse.com reports. The New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told reporters in June that the report would recommend legalization but did not release the full report until today.
“The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York state outweigh the potential negative impacts.” — Excerpt from the Marijuana Legalization Impact Assessment
In the report, officials speculate the first year of a legal adult-use cannabis market would produce up to $340 million in tax revenue for New York. The report also raises concerns about failing to legalize as states surrounding New York embrace legal cannabis, which would result in an increase in arrests for possession in border counties and a loss of revenue.
Other data points in the report include:
- Legal cannabis might reduce opioid deaths.
- Legal cannabis allows regulation which reduces consumer risk and allows quality control.
- Evidence indicates legal cannabis has little to no impact on consumption by minors.
- The prohibition of cannabis has had little impact on consumption and instead only resulted in higher rates of incarceration for minorities.
The report says that awareness and management of the potential impacts of legal cannabis are important.
“It is imperative that a regulated marijuana program contain all necessary safeguards and measures to limit access for individuals under 21, minimize impaired driving, provide education and tailored messaging to different populations and connect people to treatment if needed.” — Excerpt from the report
Despite a history of being anti-legalization, Gov. Cuomo is expected to support the report’s findings due in large part to competition from gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon in the upcoming elections. Nixon’s primary campaign platform is opposition to cannabis prohibition.