Group plans grassroots push for recreational marijuana in NY

December 14, 2017 11:55 PM

It has been three years since New York State legalized marijuana for medical treatment. Could New Yorkers soon be able to use marijuana recreationally?

The group NORML hopes that will be the case. Representatives from the national organization were in Rochester to launch a grassroots campaign aimed at reforming the state's marijuana laws. Thursday's meeting was a meet and greet -- an opportunity for people to hear about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.

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"The war on drugs has proven to be extremely ineffective and very costly," says Madisen Saglibene, Las Vegas NORML.

Madisen Saglibene is the deputy director of the Las Vegas branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or NORML. Thursday, she spoke to this group of about 30 people who packed into the Tryon City Tavern to learn more about legalizing marijuana. Saglibene is hoping to leave here with volunteers ready to form a board of directors and get moving.

She says, "Once we have that, we will begin immediately talking to local representatives, as well as Assembly members as well as Senate members to see where they stand on the MRTA and reaching out in the community to find out where the support lies and get people to sign the petition or find out what their concerns are."

Kim Robinson of Rochester sees the benefits of legalizing marijuana, but wanted to learn more.

"I wanted to learn more about the opportunities that might exist for the legalization of marijuana," Robinson tells us. "I think there is not a downside to it and I think there are a lot of people who actually benefit from having it available to them and I think that New York State is missing out on a lot of revenue and needs to get on the ball where the rest of the country is going."

Saglibene says the benefits are numerous, from tax revenue, to easing racial disparities in marijuana arrests. She says since Las Vegas legalized marijuana in July it has made $28 million in tax revenue. We asked Monroe County Sheriff-elect Todd Baxter to weigh in.

"We have to look at it comprehensively, we can't just come in and make great statements," says Baxter. "But if you sit down and study it and pass legislation that police officers can enforce or legislation that allows people to use it legally. I implore people in Albany to take a deep hard look at it."


Lynette Adams

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