Legal weed? Cuomo wants your opinion
Brooklynites like idea, but ...
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending members of his administration on a marijuana “listening tour” to learn if New Yorkers think pot should be legalized and regulated.
One of the sessions will take place in Brooklyn on Sept. 25.
“Community input is critical as we work to draft balanced and comprehensive legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York,” Cuomo said in a release on Thursday.
In the meantime, the Brooklyn Eagle conducted its own mini listening tour on Thursday to see how Brooklynites feel about the issue.
They had a lot to say.
“I think if it’s legalized then people who are currently serving sentences for it need to be freed and receive reparations,” Nihaarika, visiting the Borough Hall farmers market with her friends Aaron and Mercy, told the Eagle.
“I think it’s a good idea and it needs to be seen as a racial justice issue … and the harm that has been done has to be acknowledged,” Mercy said. “And the people who have been harmed and whose lives have been ruined or stolen by the criminalization of marijuana need to be receiving justice … Whoever the governor ends up being,” she said.
“Sounds pretty good to me,” Aaron added.
“He should legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Because a lot of cancer patients definitely need it,” said Kenneth, visiting Montague Street with a friend. “Lot of people going through glaucoma or cataracts, they need it.”
He was not in favor of legalizing pot for recreational uses, however.
“Naw, I don’t believe in recreational. Look, you talking to somebody who’s been clean now going on 32 years. I know what one drug leads to,” Kenneth said. “But for medicinal purposes, I think it should be legalized.”
Two women visiting Brooklyn Heights from Manhattan were cool with the idea. “Great idea,” said one, who didn’t want her name used.
“I’m fine with it,” her friend added.
Kate and Will Hughes, with their young children at the Borough Hall Farmers Market, were both in favor of legalizing marijuana.
“I don’t have a good reason, but yes,” Kate said.
“I hear you smoke it you get smarter, but I don’t know,” joked Shawn Johnson, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident working on the construction project at the site of the former Brooklyn Heights Library.
“Beats drinking, though,” he said. “I hear a lot of guys talking about when you’re drinking, you get more drunk, get in trouble. They say marijuana helps you think better, relax your body. You don’t go around fighting everybody.
“But I worry about the kids,” Johnson added. “Whatever they see parents do, they start. We don’t need no 8 year olds and 11 year olds around smoking marijuana.
“As far as the edibles, that’s even more dangerous for the kids,” he added. “I can leave it in the house and my daughter could say, ‘Hey, dad, I ate that candy thing on the table.’ And then I wonder why my girl is giggling all day. And I say, ‘She’s high.’ So, there’s a lot to thinking about all that stuff.”
In January, Cuomo commissioned a study, led by the Department of Health, to assess the impact of legalized marijuana in New York State.
The study found that the positive impacts of a “regulated marijuana market” in the state would “outweigh the potential negative impacts, and that areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations.”
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state was engaged in “a thoughtful process” concerning legalizing marijuana.
Fifteen listening sessions will be conducted across New York state. For more information, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/regulated_marijuana/.
Marijuana Listening Sessions in NYC:
Monday, Sept. 17 – Bronx
Thursday, Sept. 20 – Manhattan
Monday, Sept. 24 – Queens
Tuesday, Sept. 25 – Brooklyn
Wednesday, Sept. 26 – Staten Island