Legalizing marijuana grows on some local legislators

Posted: Updated:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing marijuana legalization for a second year in a row after a bill stalled in the Senate over the summer, and the idea is growing on some legislators who previously opposed it.

Sen. Pete Harckham says he is now throwing his support behind a heavily amended legalization bill sponsored by Manhattan Democrat Sen. Liz Krueger.

Harckham's views shifted after he traveled to Massachusetts, where marijuana is now legal.

One of the biggest reasons he's supporting Krueger's bill is that 25% of the estimated $300 million in annual tax revenue would go to mental health and substance abuse programs. The bill would also allow communities to opt out.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell previously opposed legalization, but said she can't make a decision "until I completely understood the facts."

Cuomo's proposal would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and call for coordination with neighboring states.

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