Rensselaer County officials push back on marijuana bill

Local

Less than one month into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s third term, several of his policies have been pushed through the democratic-controlled Capital.  

Recreational marijuana could be up next and Republicans on the side are still actively oppossing the bill’s passage.

“Elections have consequences and I think the people of New York, over the next two years will find how serious those consequences are,” said Rensselear County Executive Steve McLaughlin.

As a former assembly member McLaughlin voted for medical marijuana and is pro-decriminalization, but recreational use is where his support stops. And county sheriffs are coming out against it as well.

“I don’t believe it’s the right move myself, personally, from the law enforcement perspective, but I do think it has to be researched more rather than pushed through legislation just for the fact of gaining revenue,” said Rensselaer County Sheriff Patrick Russo.

Cuomo says his bill will develop an industry that empowers poor communities and generate $300 million in tax revenue while creating jobs, but McLaughlin isn’t buying it.

“When your economic policies have completely failed and have not generated the policies or the revenue they’re supposed to you are now desperate for revenue, so you’re saying, let’s legalize marijuana. It’s the same thing they did with casinos.”

Counties and large cities are allowed to opt out of Cuomo’s the proposed bill. It’s not clear when the bill will be up for a vote.

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