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Does state legislature have votes to pass recreational marijuana?

Questions surface in the waning days of the legislative session on Albany.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Among Western New York’s state lawmakers, Crystal Peoples-Stokes has arguably been the most passionate advocate for legalizing recreational marijuana.

The Buffalo Democrat says she is “making progress” gathering votes within the state assembly to get a legalization bill passed.

But for Peoples-Stokes, time is running out. After the Memorial Day weekend there are just 13 days left in the legislative session. There are dozens of bills to consider. None have been more talked about than recreational pot.

Last August, Governor Andrew Cuomo put together a panel to study how the state might move forward with legalization. The issue was prominently included in the Governor’s 2019 agenda. As recently as April, Cuomo pledged to have it done by June.

But it appears legalization has been bogged down by the details of implementation. Reportedly there have been disagreements between legislative leaders and the Governor’s office over things such as where marijuana taxes will be spent and who controls the money.

A veteran assembly Democrat, Robin Schimminger of Kenmore, says he doesn’t think there enough votes in his chamber to pass legalization.

“There may not be … and there may not have been … and there may not have ever been,” Schimminger said.

Peoples-Stokes says she respect Schimminger but adds, “I haven’t shared my vote tally with him.”


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