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NYS Assembly Holds Hearings On Marijuana Legalization

Steven Senne

Marijuana legalization was up for debate at a public hearing on Long Island on Monday. The hearing was less about whether recreational marijuana is good or bad, and more about how the industry should be regulated.  

New York State Assembly members who oversee committees on health and drug abuse heard testimony from business owners and experts on adult marijuana use.

Corey Pegues spoke at the hearing on the behalf of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a nonprofit group that advocates for drug and criminal justice reform.

“It’s the time now. Let’s legalize marijuana around the country and help people that have a drug addiction. You can’t arrest your way out of drug addiction.”

Steven Shankman works for a company that develops organic fertilizer systems for the cannabis industry. He's been on Long Island for 44 years and wants to expand his company's operations into New York.

“I’m here to find out how the government and our state Assembly is going to be handling the laws that are coming into the state and how that’s going to affect our ability to work within those.”

This was the fourth hearing the Assembly held to discuss legalization. They expect more debate during the next legislative session.

New York has legalized limited medical marijuana only, but New Jersey is close to legalizing recreational use and Massachusetts opened its first legal pot shops this fall.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.