BUFFALO, NY - Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken a step toward the legalization of marijuana in New York state. The governor has created a panel which includes health officials and law enforcement that'll craft a proposed law to legalize the drug.
Some lawmakers already have strong reactions to the move.
If a bill to legalize marijuana came up now and if the Legislature was in session, Republican assembly member Stepen Hawley who's district includes Orleans and Genesee County, would be emphatically against it.
"To legalize marijuana no matter how much the use I believe is not the right message for our children," he said.
REPORTER: Your opinion on that won't change at all? Why are you so convinced?
"When you talk to a county sheriff when you talk to a state trooper when you talk to a minister when you talk to people who run small businesses up and down our streets they believe it sends the wrong message and it causes more problems than it does solves," Hawley said.
The state health department said the exact opposite last month, saying in a report on the legalization of marijuana that "positive effects" outweigh the "potential negative effects."
In the past, Democrats like Senator Tim Kennedy and Assembly member Crystal Peoples-Stokes have shown their support for recreational marijuana. Republicans such as Senators Robert Ortt and Michael Ranzenhofer say they want to see what's in the bill before making a decision.
Hawley says the state should be focused on other issues and not marijuana.
"We've got inordinate amount of taxes that property owners are having to pay we have income taxes that continue to skyrocket," Hawley said.
In May, a Quinnipiac poll said New York State voters supported 2-1 "allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use."
REPORTER: Bottom line do you think that recreational marijuana gets done in the new session?
"I would assume because this commission has been appointed right now their report will be out by the end of the year," Hawley said.
The politics of all this could change dramatically or not much at all come the new session, because it's an election year. The governor's primary opponent Cynthia Nixon supports recreational marijuana.
Republican candidate Marc Molinaro has said he wants to first see how legalization works in other states.