Last week, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

Not only does the legislation legalize the sale and consumption of marijuana, it also expunges the criminal records of those who were convicted of crimes that are now legal under the law.

The governor’s office expects to receive over $350 million in tax revenue with this booming industry and create over 60,000 jobs.

When the law passed the bill last December, many Brooklyn residents felt it was way overdue. Now, we took the streets of Flatbush to speak to Brooklyn residents about their thoughts on the law. 

Retail manager Rose Casseus, had mixed feelings about the bill, claiming it would be great for business, but worried about young teens getting their hands on the drug.

“I think it would be great for investing since it’s a growing industry. But I feel like a lot of young kids will abuse it because they don’t know any better. ”

Under the new law, New Yorkers can possess up to three ounces of marijuana and grow up to three mature pot plants at home, with a limit of six per household.

Hospital buyer Emma Paul was thrilled to hear the news. “I’m not a weed smoker, but I’m glad they’re finally legalizing it. The system has taken advantage of so many young Black men and women just for having it in their possession. This way, cops don’t have a reason to arrest citizens for their personal choices.”

Cuomo told ABC News the legalization was historic and righted wrongs, “by putting an end to harsh prison sentences.”

“[The law] embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits.” 

Charlene Charles, a patient care associate, felt the bill was a good start. “White people have made weed trendy, while many Black people sit behind bars for nonviolent crimes, like possessing marijuana,” she said.

“I’m hoping that with legalization, minorities — who have been targeted and jailed— can benefit from the business. It’s much-needed revenue for the city, post-COVID.”

However, older Brooklyn residents that spoke with BK Reader disagreed with a changing culture and were against the legislation. Marie Louis, a retired nurse, felt only medical marijuana should remain legal.

“I don’t think people should go to jail for it, but I don’t agree with smoking it unless you’re sick. People always abuse things and unless it’s regulated, I feel like it could get out of control.”

MTA worker Luc Joseph was indifferent. “I don’t have strong feelings either way. I actually hate the smell of it, but if everyone else is making money off it, why can’t we do the same?”

Sales will not begin until 2022, but the Office of Cannabis Management has been created to help regulate the sale and distribution of cannabis, along with an expansion of medical marijuana use. 

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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications like Okayplayer and Well + Good. Follow her on Twitter @yjeanwrites.

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  1. Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide!

    The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

    1. Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

      1. Contrary to what prohibitionists are so desperately trying to get the public to believe wholeheartedly and without question, legalizing marijuana IS NOT adding anything new into our society that wasn’t always there and widely available already.

        Therefore marijuana legalization does not lead to some massive influx of new marijuana consumers. The very same people who have been consuming marijuana during it’s prohibition are for the most part the very same ones who will be consuming marijuana when it’s legal.

        The prohibition of marijuana has never prevented marijuana’s widespread availability nor anyone from consuming marijuana that truly desires to do so.

        Marijuana has been ingrained within our society since the days of our founding fathers and part of human culture since biblical times, for thousands of years.

        So, since marijuana has always been with us and humans already have thousands upon thousands of years worth of experience with marijuana, what great calamities and “Doomsday Scenarios” do prohibitionists really think will happen now due to current legalization efforts that have never ever happened before in all human history?

        Legalize Nationwide!

        What we certainly don’t need are anymore people who feel justified in appointing themselves to be self-deputized morality police.

        We are very capable of choosing for ourselves if we want to consume Marijuana, a far less dangerous choice over alcohol, and we definitely don’t need anyone dictating how we live our own lives.

        We can’t just lock up everyone who does things prohibitionists don’t personally approve of.

        1. Regarding “The Children”,

          Let’s not use “The Children” as an excuse to prohibit and criminalize adult use of a natural plant far less dangerous than perfectly legal alcohol because nobody condones child use, and this is about allowing adults only to choose marijuana.

          It’s our responsibility as parents by to educate our children on drug use. It’s not the government’s job to force Draconian Marijuana Laws upon every adult citizen under the guise of protecting “The Children”.

          What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain marijuana now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?

          It doesn’t take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.

          Marijuana legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.

          What message does it send our children when serveral the Presidents of The United States themselves alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives?

          While we tell our kids how it will ruin their futures, and then ensure so, by allowing our government to to jail our children and give them permanent criminal records when they get caught with a little Marijuana. Especially, if they are the wrong skin color or from the “wrong neighborhood”. Which in turn, ruins their chances of employment for life.

          The Prohibition of Marijuana is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it’s an all American pastime.

          The worst thing about marijuana and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it’s prohibition.

          Protect “The Children” and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Nationwide!

          1. “Marijuana is 114 times safer than drinking alcohol”

            “Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say”

            “Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say New study: We should stop fighting marijuana legalization and focus on alcohol and tobacco instead By Christopher Ingraham February 23

            Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.

            Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine.”
            -washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/23/marijuana-may-be-even-safer-than-previously-thought-researchers-say/

            “The report discovered that marijuana is 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Researchers were able to determine this by comparing the lethal doses with the amount of typical use. Through this approach, marijuana had the lowest mortality risk to users out of all the drugs they studied. In fact—because the numbers were crossed with typical daily use—marijuana is the only drug that tested as “low risk.”

            -complex.com/pop-culture/2015/02/scientific-reports-weed-114-safer-alcohol

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