It’s high time for legalization

Ten states in this country have legalized the recreational use of marijuana — and if Governor Andrew Cuomo has anything to say about it, New York will become the 11th to do so next year.

Currently, marijuana use is permitted in the Empire State for medicinal purposes. In recent years, the state and city have sought to decriminalize possession of minute amounts of weed as part of overall efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

The national trend on pot has been toward legalization, and New York shouldn’t stand in the way any longer.

The resources expended by law enforcement toward keeping pot off the streets could be used to fight more serious crimes. Marijuana-related businesses will create new jobs and pump money into the economy at a time when it’s beginning to slow down.

The revenue generated from taxes charged on marijuana sales offers a new source of revenue to fund public improvements.

While marijuana use should be legalized, the state must regulate the use and sale of pot with regulations similar to those applied to alcohol and tobacco consumption — no sale or distribution to anyone under 21, no marijuana use while operating vehicles or heavy machinery, etc.

Let’s legalize it, but let’s do it the right way.

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