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Legal Marijuana In New York State May Soon Become Reality

June 18, 2018 - 6:51 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) -- Legal marijuana in New York may soon be a reality.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says a long-awaited state report on marijuana will recommend state legalization.
 
Zucker said Monday in Brooklyn that officials examined the pros and cons of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana and determined the benefits of legalization outweighed the negatives.
 
The report is now being finalized. Zucker's boss, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has long expressed concerns about legalization but ordered the study in January after coming under pressure from legalization supporters.
 
Don't count on legal weed just yet, however. Lawmakers must approve any legalization proposal but plan to adjourn for the year this week.
 
Two neighboring states, Massachusetts and Vermont, are among those moving toward legalization.
 
New York has a medical marijuana program allowing patients with qualifying conditions to use non-smokeable forms of pot.

Zucker is also working on new regulations that replace opioids prescribed for pain with medical marijuana.

Zucker said he is developing new regulations to include prescription opioid use for pain as a reason to prescribe medical marijuana to a patient instead. He met with two doctors who are certified to prescribe medical marijuana, and believes it will help patients get off the highly addictive opioids.

"We feel this is another way to move the program forward particularly because there are individuals who are in chronic pain and might want to speak to my colleagues here," he said.

Dr. George Moskowitz of Borough Park and Dr. Grace For of Lake Success both say that medical pot is not a gateway drug.

Dr. Zucker said the new regulations are in the process of being finalized.