This week, Vermont and New Hampshire moved to legalize cannabis for adult use, signifying a major step in states' acceptance of the plant along the East Coast, and in their opposition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' tenacious stance.
In New York, where legislators have largely left drug laws unchanged since the '70s, and where marijuana arrest rates continue to lead the nation, a panel of lawmakers will now hear testimony from some of the state's most experienced--and patient--advocates for reform.
On Thursday morning, the New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Health, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse will convene a public hearing to discuss the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), aimed to legalize the use, distribution, and production of cannabis for adults aged 21 and over.
As part of their research on the bill, which was floated to little effect in previous assembly sessions, the legislative panel will hear testimony from a range of medical, legal, and policy experts in the state who are calling for an end to the ban (with livestreamed video available from 10:30 EST, and after the fact here).
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit focusing on drug reform advocacy and education, and which helped to build and promote the bill, MRTA would create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a similar way to alcohol, and "effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State."
On the whole, New Yorkers have increasingly indicated that they're ready to 'green-light' the state's cannabis industry. Late last year, a poll found that around 62% favored legalization, while more than 60% supported its taxation and regulation for the sake of addressing New York's budget deficit.
Read the full article on Forbes.com