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New York Department of Health recommends marijuana legalization

by Mary McNitt | Jul 19, 2018

Recently the New York Department of Health (DOH) released the recommendation, contained within a multi-page study, that the legalization of marijuana be pursued. The report concludes that the public acceptance of the drug and usage have steadily risen in recent years and that the benefits of recreational legalization outweigh the negative consequences.

In the report, the DOH estimates the state of New York could generate anywhere between $250 and $700 million in annual tax review, depending on an eventually established tax rate. The report also recommends a highly regulated system as a way to avoid unnecessary access, diversion and accidental ingestion by children. However, the report was issued after the state’s legislature adjourned, meaning any major legislative action required to implement changes may be forced to wait until after the election.

Though the report from the DOH outlines support for and benefits of legalization of recreational marijuana, the process still faces a test in the state legislature. With control of the New York State Senate up for grabs, efforts to move legalization may rest on the party that controls the chamber after the November election. Opponents of the expansion, including those in the State Senate, are calling for an improvement and expansion of the current medical marijuana program before legalizing recreational usage.

Details of the DOH report can be viewed here.

Our Government Affairs Team continues to track the ever-evolving public policy debate around medical and recreational marijuana due to the potential impact on the provision of care to injured workers in all jurisdictions. If you have questions regarding this or any other developing public policy issues please contact us at AskGovtAffairs@optum.com.

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