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Watching possible legalization of marijuana in NYS

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – As New York State begins to study the impacts of legalizing marijuana, people on both sides of the issue are watching closely.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode said, in 2017, his town had 90 marijuana arrests and even more driving under the influence arrests. He said legalizing another drug will only cause more problems.

“I don't believe money should trump the public safety and health for our society, because there will be a human cost to this,” said Chief VanBrederode. “In 2017, 176 people made the poor choice to drive while they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 176 people in my little town for driving an automobile - add more to the mix, and I think it's obvious of what potentially could happen.”

On the other side, Green Party Activist Alex White tells 13WHAM legalizing marijuana would bring positive societal changes.

“The war on marijuana and the war on drugs has pretty much criminalized black communities,” said White, “and even through the majority of use is by white people and suburban people, the majority of the punishment has gone to black people in neighborhoods in urban places.”

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to take a side on the issue, only asking for the study to be done.

One area being looked at is the tax revenue the legalization of marijuana could bring in.

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, Tax Division, marijuana sales brought in $247,000,000 in tax revenue for the state in 2017.

According to Forbes, California estimates marijuana sales will bring in $1-billion in tax revenue.

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