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Share your thoughts on regulated marijuana in N.Y. Sept. 27

Residents across New York will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on a regulated marijuana program over the next two months. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday a series of listening sessions that will be held across the state, including one on Long Island Sept. 27.

The state Department of Health released a report in July on the possible impact of regulating marijuana in New York and recommended recreational use be legalized. Gov. Cuomo had ordered the assessment in January. The state estimates up to $678 million in tax revenue could be generated if recreational use were legalized.

Input gathered from the listening sessions will assist the Regulated Marijuana Workshop in drafting legislation for a regulated marijuana program for the legislature to consider, according to the governor.

“Community input is critical as we work to draft balanced and comprehensive legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement. “The multi-agency report identified the benefits of a regulated marijuana market, and with these listening sessions we are taking another important step to develop a model program for New York.

A venue for the Long Island session had yet to be identified, but pre-registration is available online.

A total of 15 listening sessions will be held, starting Sept. 5 in Albany. The Long Island session will be the eighth.

The report released last month reviewed programs in other states where recreational marijuana is legal and it noted education as the key to public safety. Several neighboring states have legalized marijuana or will do so soon, such as Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, the report noted.

The Department of Health recommends that New York follow a model similar to Massachusetts, but acknowledges that the state would need to establish further requirements for each step of the supply chain.

“Further consideration is needed to determine who will review and issue licenses and how often they will be updated,” according the report.

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