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Daily Gazette: Health Department report supports legal recreational marijuana

Positive impact would outweigh potential negatives, report concludes

By John Cropley

ALBANY — The state Department of Health issued a report Friday supporting the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in New York state.

The potential positives of a legal, regulated marijuana market outweigh the potential negatives, the report concluded, and the negatives can be addressed effectively.

The report said legalization would create sales tax revenue and improve quality control in the product, and said it is widely used in New York already. It cautioned that education efforts would be needed if marijuana is legalized, so as to reduce health problems and potential legal problems such as driving while stoned.

It also noted that medical marijuana has not created problems in communities since it became legally available in New York in 2016.

In the Capital Region, there is one marijuana cultivation facility in operation in Perth and another under development in Glenville, both for medicinal products.

Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of New York, said the state’s medical marijuana program has been good for his company but has not reached its full potential. His company’s cultivation facility in Perth has been increasing its workforce — it’s up to two dozen people now — but it would expand much more if recreational marijuana was legalized in the state.

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