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Cuomo: Let Cities Opt out of Cannabis Shops if NY Legalizes

January 14, 2019
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement, called the The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, on a span of the new bridge near Tarrytown, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. The event was held a day before vehicles start rolling across the massive new Hudson River span. Cuomo and a host of other dignitaries attended Thursday's ceremony for the 3-mile long bridge, which is being named after Cuomo's late father. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dropping a few hints about his upcoming marijuana legalization proposal.

Speaking on public radio Monday, the Democratic governor says that if legalization moves ahead he believes local governments should have the power to prohibit retail cannabis shops within their boundaries. That’s similar to the situation in neighboring Massachusetts, which now has six retail marijuana dispensaries.

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Cuomo also said he wants to prohibit anyone under 21 from buying legal weed, mirroring the rules for alcohol.

More details are expected when Cuomo delivers his State of the State address on Tuesday.

While there’s broad support for legalizing marijuana in New York, there’s no consensus yet on the details, such as tax rates, licensing rules or the number of retail shops that would be allowed.

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  • Stel-1776

    Those who believe in limited government, personal responsibility, free markets, and individual liberty should embrace the ending of this irrational, un-American cannabis prohibition. It should be the cornerstone of current GOP policy..

    Federal studies show about half of the U.S. population has tried cannabis, at least 15% use it regularly, over 80% of high school seniors have reported cannabis “easy to get” for decades. This prohibition, like alcohol prohibition has had little of its intended effect. In many cases cannabis prohibition makes cannabis usage problematic where it would not have been otherwise, be it light, moderate, or heavy usage. For the most part, cannabis prohibition only successfully prohibits effective regulation.

    A few issues created by prohibition: there are no quality controls to reduce contaminants (harmful pesticides, molds, fungus, other drugs), there is no practical way to prevent regular underage sales, billions in tax revenue are lost which can be used for all substance abuse treatment, underground markets for all drugs are empowered as a far more popular substance is placed within them expanding their reach and increasing their profits, criminal records make pursuing many decent careers difficult, police and court resources are unnecessarily tied up by pursuing and prosecuting victimless ‘crimes’, public mistrust and disrespect for our legal system, police, and government is increased, which is devastating our country.

    Prohibition is also very expensive, though, a cash cow for a number of powerful groups such as those related to law enforcement and the prison industry. These organizations have powerful lobbies and influence that perpetuate a failed drug policy through ignorance, fear, disinformation and misinformation. This ensures an endless supply of lucrative contracts, grants and subsidies from the government and its taxpayers to support their salaries, tools of the trade, ‘correctional’ services, and other expenses. Cash, property and other assets from civil forfeiture laws also significantly fatten their coffers while often violating civil rights.

    America was built on the principles of freedom and liberty. In some cases there are extreme circumstances that warrant intervention with criminal law. In the case of mind-altering drugs we have already set this precedent with alcohol. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and especially to others. If we are to have justice, then the penalties for using, possessing and selling cannabis should be no worse than those of alcohol