State bill to legalize marijuana gets pushed

Originally published in Times Union on February 17, 2018.

ALBANY – The push for the state to legalize marijuana received a celebrity boost Saturday when Montel Williams told his personal cannabis story at the New Yok State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference.


Williams described how he was using more and more prescription opioids to deal with pain from his multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, when a physician advised him to use marijuana.

“Does marijuana stop pain? No. Does marijuana make it livable? Yes,” Williams said moving around in the Empire State Convention Center meeting room packed with a standing room audience of 150 people.

Williams spoke at the workshop called “From Prisons to Pot: Marijuana Legalization and Revisioning New York State’s Economy” sponsored by Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn. 

Peoples-Stokes and Montgomery emphasized that the “marijuana regulation and taxation act” introduced in the State Legislature is not about crime but will have an impact that will help the state’s economy and minority communities that have been borne the brunt of prison terms from marijuana use.

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