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New York Marijuana Legalization: Last-Minute Push To Legalize Underway In Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – With the legislative session coming to an end mid-week, a last-minute push is underway to legalize recreational marijuana in New York State.

Despite meeting with members of the Senate and Assembly over the weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there still isn't a firm proposal in place.

The main issue?

"What's the right of the locality? Does the locality have a voice in the decision," Cuomo said on a radio show Monday morning. "Does New York state say Yonkers must do this or do they give the locality the option, and does the locality have the option to opt in or opt out in terms of the market?"

Cuomo acknowledges while New York City is in favor of recreational marijuana, parts of Long Island think it will make the opioid crisis worse.

In March, Nassau County released the findings of a task force created to study the impact of legalizing pot. It found that treatment providers were unanimous in expressing concerns about minors, those with mental health disorders, and "a treatment system strained to the breaking point by the heroin and opioid crisis."

In January, Nassau's police commissioner spoke out against legalization, saying "Now we're going to legalize marijuana not knowing how long that stays in your system."

According to a Siena Research Institute poll released last week, New York voters polled are supportive of legalizing the recreation use of marijuana, 55 to 40 percent.

But time is running out. The legislative session ends Wednesday.

A new bill normally needs three days of public review before a vote, so Cuomo would have to decree this a "special necessity" to rush it to the floor by Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Cuomo said he would sign a bill if it passed the legislature, but he didn't think the votes were there. Now, that may have changed.

So what's changed?

"You're right, we've had a number of different twists and turns and people saying they support it then don't support it, then do support it. But to me dealing with a legislative body, whether it's New York state legislature or federal legislature, you don't know what they're going to do until they do it," Cuomo said.

So basically he says he still doesn't know if they have the votes, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

Another question they're trying to iron out: If there's a local opt-out rule, does that mean county or village?

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