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In all likelihood, New York will legalize recreational marijuana during the next legislative session.  This sea-change will demand a regulatory scheme up to the task.  On one hand, the regime should cabin the risks associated with legalizing a drug that affects people’s mental states and abilities to drive.  But on the other hand, the regime should also maximize the health, safety and financial benefits of bringing this market into daylight.  After legalization, New York will become one of the largest marijuana markets in the United States.  If rolled out properly, legalization will carry net benefits that far outweigh the costs.

On July 13, 2018, the New York State Department of Health issued a report describing the potential impact of regulated marijuana in New York State. The report was the result of an investigation by the Department of Health requested by Gov, Andrew M. Cuomo in his January 2018 budget address. The governor asked for an evaluation of the health, public safety and economic impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in New York State. The thorough report that followed concluded that legalized recreational marijuana in New York State would carry net positives that outweighed the negatives.

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