NYS Assembly Speaker: “Public’s Opinion On Marijuana Is Evolving”

Photo Credit: Brian Davies

The public’s opinion on marijuana is evolving, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says.

It has been rumored that the state’s marijuana task force report is almost completed and could be released at any time. However, Heastie says there are a few criminal justice issues that need to be resolved before recreational marijuana could be put into law.

“If we get to the point where its going to be legal and recreational than why should people now still be having trouble getting jobs and a record for something that could now be legal,” Heastie said.

This is the first time, expunging past arrests for marijuana has been mentioned. Heastie also talked about possibly using the revenue gained from recreational marijuana towards drug addiction.

The other big item that could be passed before the end of the year is ending the requirement that state test scores must account for half of a teacher’s evaluation. The Assembly passed the bill, but it has not yet been voted on in the Senate.

The Teacher’s Union is pushing Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan to take up this bill as soon as next week. THe bill has wide bi-partisan support with 55 out of 63 Senators sponsoring it.

The other bills that could be passed before the end of the year is the Child Victims Act, Extreme Risk Protection Order and sports betting. Speaker Heastie, however, said he personally is against gambling, but would take up the matter with his conference.