Recreational marijuana is still the focus of a major debate for Albany lawmakers heading into the homestretch of their session. One of the many issues they’re considering is how it would impact the criminal justice system.
Some lawmakers believe the criminal records for people convicted of certain marijuana-related offenses would have to be expunged.
“You have a lot of people who arrest records, criminal records, because of marijuana use. So if we get to that point, it’s not just about legalizing marijuana, it’s about what we do for the lives of people who marijuana has affected,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.
A state Department of Health study on recreational marijuana is due out soon. It is not expected to endorse complete legalization.
Meanwhile, some people want to use medical marijuana to fight the opioid epidemic. One state senator believes it could be used to treat chronic pain instead of opioids.
Senator George Amedore held a news conference showcasing one person’s battle, where medical marijuana improved her quality of life.
Amedore is the co-chair of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse, designed to address the state’s opioid crisis. He plans on presenting the proposal to the Senate Health Committee.