As previously reported on Life Science Matters, New York can’t make up its mind when it comes to cannabis legalization. Like Don Corleone said in Godfather III, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.” Despite a recent “will they or won’t they” dance, proponents of New York’s bill to legalize marijuana for adult use said the bill won’t pass this year. The legislature is still hopeful that a measure expunging criminal records and decriminalizing small amounts of the drug will still move forward in the next week or so. The bill proposed by Senator Elizabeth Krueger would have set up a regulatory framework to legalize the drug and authorize growers, distributors, and retailers. It would have also diverted tax revenue from the drug to several areas, such as areas most strongly impacted by the state’s drug laws.
One of the biggest concerns is public safety as there is no current, accurate method of quickly testing a person’s level of intoxication when on marijuana. Increased and improved training for police would be required and, even then, this could lead to arguments that any findings are subjective, as opposed to objective chemical or breath tests used when testing for alcohol intoxication.
As the legislature was unable to legalize adult use of cannabis, lawmakers will now address legislation sponsored by State Sen. Jamaal Bailey, which would decriminalize it in small amounts and allow for the expungement of past convictions. The legislation would classify the possession of small amounts of marijuana as a violation, rather than a crime, capping fines at $50. It would also result in the automatic expungement of low-level marijuana convictions.
Nevada, on the other hand, moved “all in” on adult use legalization and has even addressed employment discrimination in relation to the use of marijuana. Nevada