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New York Lawmakers Reach Agreement To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- State lawmakers reached an agreement late Saturday night to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in New York.

The deal paves the way for a potentially multibillion-dollar industry, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Sunday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made it clear that legalizing recreational marijuana is a priority for him. If the bill passes, the law could take effect in 2022.

Under the proposed bill, those 21 and older would be allowed to have 3 ounces of cannabis for personal use outside their home and be able to grow a limited number of plants.

New Yorkers already appear split on the bill.

"It released stress, gets people off medications that they are not supposed to be on. I think it's a positive thing for New York," said Mike Guida from Deer Park.

"If it's legal, it gets rid of some of the drug traffic," said Aerial Smith from the Bronx. "However, for me, personally, I don't agree with it."

The legislation would create an Office of Cannabis Management, expand New York's existing medical marijuana program and establish a licensing system.

The bill also includes reduced penalties for possession and sale, while automatically expunging or resentencing anyone with a previous marijuana conviction for something that would become legal.

Some predict trouble with enforcement.

"There's currently no definitive test to tell a level of intoxication of a person and it makes it difficult for officers trying to enforce the law and keeping the road safe," said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Paul Oliva. "It would definitely be helpful if there was some sort of scientific method or a field test on the road that an officer would be able to use."

The governor's office expects the amount of tax collected to reach $350 million per year, adding the bill could create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs.

A vote on the bill is expected to pass sometime this week.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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