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New York State Department of Health Releases Report on Legalization

Posted by on Friday, July 13, 2018 in News, Updates.

The New York Department of Health just released its report on legalization of marijuana in the empire state. The report had been commissioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo back in January, 2018. The full report can be found here. The news media has previously discussed some contents of the report, but this is the first time the full report has been released to the public.

In a nutshell, it recommends legalization of recreational (adult use) marijuana. Here is the key summary paragraph (on page 5):

The positive effects of regulating an adult (21 and over) marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts. Harm reduction principles can and should be incorporated into a regulated marijuana program to help ensure consumer and industry safety. Legalizing marijuana could remove research restrictions in NYS, which will enable the State to add to the knowledge of both the benefits and risks. In addition, NYS would be one of the largest regulated marijuana markets. As such, there is potential for substantial tax revenue in NYS, which can be used to help support program initiatives in areas such as public health, education, transportation, research, law enforcement and workforce development. Tax revenues can also support health care and employment. Finally, legalization of marijuana will address an important social justice issue by reducing disproportionate criminalization and incarceration of certain racial and ethnic minority communities.

The report is noteworthy mainly because it portends full legalization in (another) very large and influential state. I might write more about the report later, but from a first read, I didn’t notice any real surprises in it. It’s a straightforward analysis of the comparative costs and benefits of legalization and prohibition (both are the focus of Chapters 5 and 9 of my book).

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