LI group sending postcards to local officials in push for marijuana legalization
A group of Long Islanders is pushing to legalize recreational marijuana, and it's using postcards addressed to state lawmakers.
A total of five Long Island Democratic state senators are being paid visits by the Long Island Progressive Coalition. The small group including seniors and mothers with young kids presented lawmakers with the postcards in support of marijuana legalization.
Supporters say it's something that's long overdue, and they point to the estimated $300 million+ in tax revenue the state is expected to take in from sales.
"Moms needs this. Families need this. And they shouldn't feel like they have to hide and be ashamed of it," says Charlene Ali-Barreto, of Valley Stream. "With the regulations, that means we can hold companies responsible for what's put out on the street."
But opponents say there are many reasons to avoid legalize marijuana right now, including the increase in drug use and overdoses seen during the pandemic.
"This has primarily now come to the forefront because of the revenue raising issues that we have," says state Sen. Anthony Palumbo. "I don't believe it's going to raise the revenue that's projected."
There has been plenty of debate about where the money from legalization would go -- Cuomo wants much of it in the general fund, while others say some of it should go to poor communities impacted by drug abuse. Others say money should be set aside for drug treatment efforts.
It was 2014 when the state legalized medical use of marijuana, and two years ago, the state decriminalized possession. There seems to be growing support among the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take the next step this year.
The proposal to legalize marijuana is part of the state budget, which is likely not being voted on until the last week of March.