QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to the latest developments toward the decriminalization, legalization and regulation of marijuana.

The New York State Health Department announced yesterday that its study commissioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo six months ago will recommend the state legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The Department also announced yesterday its new regulatory amendment to add opioid use as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Earlier today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the New York City Police Department will change its enforcement policy on marijuana and issue summonses instead of making arrests for most cases.

“These are major steps for the City and State of New York, bringing us closer to long overdue legalization and justice reform. The State Health Department’s amendment offers a strong tool in the war against the opioid addiction epidemic, and its study commissioned by Governor Cuomo brings us closer than ever to statewide legalization. The unfairness in the city’s existing marijuana enforcement policy has been difficult to deny and has propagated unequal treatment within policing for far too long. Mayor de Blasio’s new citywide policy unveiled today will help reduce unnecessary arrests and enhance public trust.”

Last month, Borough President Katz in a letter to the Mayor urged for the responsible decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. Borough President Katz also authored a piece on the matter last month in The Amsterdam News.

Swiv Prezidan Borough Katz atrave @melindakatz www.facebook.com/queensbpkatz