Cuomo wants recreational pot legalization in state budget

    Cropped Photo: Brett Levin / CC BY 2.0 (MGNOnline)

    ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - "Time matters."

    That's what Governor Andrew Cuomo told Alan Chartock in a radio interview Wednesday on WAMC.

    Cuomo said during the first 100 days of 2019 he wants to legalize recreational marijuana, and he wants it included in the state budget.

    Cohoes Assemblyman John McDonald says on that point, he agrees.

    "At the end of the day, is it going to have a fiscal impact on the state of New York? Yes it is. It belongs in the budget, plain and simple," McDonald said.

    With Democrats now controlling the majority in the Senate for the first time in several years, McDonald says he thinks the measure will pass.

    But the father and pharmacist also has concerns.

    "About impaired driving and what the impact will be. What the impact will be to somebody who might lose their license because they may have ingested adult use marijuana 3 weeks ago, it's still in their system, and they get in an accident. That's an important issue," McDonald explained.

    McDonald says he's also worried about the impact on crime, and where recreational marijuana would be sold.

    He says not in his pharmacy, but liquor stores could be a possibility.

    "That's been bantered around. I've had a few owners and industry representatives reach out. It makes sense," McDonald said.

    But Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh says Cuomo's position on recreational marijuana is disheartening and driven by his own political ambition.

    She released a statement saying in part:

    "The governor is so focused on the revenue potential that he's lost sight of studying the health and community effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in other states. We cannot let such a big change be jammed through the Legislative Process without proper review and consideration."

    The state budget is due at the end of March.

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