The New York State Health Department is expected to soon release a report detailing how to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
The leader of the New York State Assembly says any bill to allow that would also need to aid those who were arrested on past marijuana charges.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he backs the idea of legalizing recreational use of the drug, but he believes the current laws have led to a disproportionate share of African-American and Latino New Yorkers being arrested for marijuana possession, and he says those criminal records should be expunged as part of any new legislation.
“Why should people now still be having trouble getting jobs and having a record for something that now could be legal? So I think it has to be a broader discussion of whether we just legalize it or not.”
The legislative session ends June 20, and the State Senate is in political gridlock. But Heastie says he remains hopeful that agreements could come, saying, at the Capitol, three weeks could be an eternity.