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Opponents Of Marijuana's Legality In New York Fear Rise In Crime, Driving Under Influence, Decreased Quality Of Life

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Wednesday marked a historic day across the Empire State. Recreational marijuana is now legal.

The legislation has won praise from many supporters, but opponents have voiced several concerns, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

"I'm a little afraid of it," Upper East Side resident Steve Magnusson said.

READ MORENew York Legalizes Adult-Use Marijuana: 'A Historic Day'

Magnusson said he's nervous about New York's legalization of recreational marijuana. His concerns stem from seeing the effects in his home state of Washington, which legalized pot in 2012.

"Crime is up. It seems to have poor results, so I don't think it's a great idea," Magnusson said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the wide-ranging legislation on Wednesday.

Among the new rules:

  • New Yorkers over age 21 are now allowed to possess up to three ounces of pot outside their homes.
  • They can also grow as many as six mature plants per household.

It's all expected to generate some $350 million in tax revenue each year.

The law, which is designed to addresses racial disparities in enforcement, has been praised by supporters.

"Yeah, it's great! Why not?" one person said.

"People are already doing it so you might as well make money off it," added James Sims of East Harlem.

READ MOREMost Lawmakers, Residents Eager To See What Legalized Marijuana Does For New York's COVID-Stricken Economy

But many others are worried, including members of the NYPD. They fear it will lead to more problems on the road and more problems on the streets, since the new law makes it legal to smoke pot outside, anywhere smoking tobacco is allowed.

Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said that was already a problem when he worked in Harlem, in addition to citywide.

"That was a major complaint. People did not want to walk into their buildings and smell marijuana," Harrison said.

"There really is no easy test for marijuana and anything that's potentially leading to increase of impaired driving, I think, ofcourse we're concerned," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said legalizing had been long overdue, especially since many already use marijuana. He was asked about negative consequences for the city.

"I do understand the concern, truly, but I think you heard it is like every other challenge in society. Bring it out in the open and address it and educate people and take the steps to help people be their best selves and be safe," de Blasio said.

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