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Lawmakers meet in Binghamton to discuss possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Members of the New York State Assembly, community members and other area leaders met in the Binghamton City Council Chambers Tuesday morning.

Officials listened as people voiced their opinions about legalizing recreational weed in the public forum.

“I am absolutely in favor of legalization,” said Dr. Anne Calkins, Medical Director of the Lourdes Center for Pain and Wellness. “I think that legalizing it creates avenues for open discussion. I think that too often we get focused on all of the bad things that can happen with legalization.”

Calkins says if passed in New York, it should be closely monitored.

“Certainly an area for research would be creating or developing a point of care test that would enable employers or police, law enforcement, to know if somebody is acutely impaired from cannabis,” she explained.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo was among many listening to what people had to say.

“With Canada and all of the surrounding states, expect for Pennsylvania, doing this, we feel obligated to move along,” said Lupardo. “We think that a regulated and taxed system can really help drive resources.”

State Senator Fred Akshar was not available for an on-camera interview but sent 12 News this statement:

“The proposed legalization of recreational marijuana continues to be a divisive issue both in our community and across the state. From our public community voice survey earlier this year, the majority of residents in the 52nd District who responded are against it. While I oppose legalizing recreational marijuana for a variety of reasons, including public safety concerns, my staff and I are committed to hearing all sides of the issue and listening to the opinions of the people I represent, whether they support or oppose it.”

The public meeting was the third of four statewide hearings on the topic.

Esperanza Gutierrez

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