Sen. Cooney and Advocates Outline Marijuana Legalization for Rochester

(Rochester, NY) - Tonight, Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) and advocates from the Drug Policy Alliance, Roc NORML, and Women Grow met on Zoom with over 150 members of the community to discuss the legalization of recreational marijuana for adult use in New York State. Senator Cooney co-sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which expands legal use of cannabis throughout the state and creates an equitable adult-use market. 

This is a first in a series of clinics and workshops designed to inform the Rochester public of how legal adult-use recreational marijuana legislation will be put into practice in the real world from both a social justice and new industry perspective. 

Senator Jeremy Cooney 
“Tonight we saw that passing new marijuana justice laws are a priority for Rochester. New York is ready to be a leader in how adult-use recreational marijuana can benefit those who were negatively impacted by the War on Drugs,” said Senator Cooney, co-chair of the Marijuana Task Force for the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus.

We did not simply change the rules, we created opportunities to participate in this new economy for those who were most harmed by over-policing. I am grateful that we have Rochesterians who believe in this legislation and are ready to get to work.”

New York State Director Drug Policy Alliance, Melissa Moore
“Through the hard work of people impacted by prohibition, advocates and champion lawmakers, like the bill sponsors Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, and their colleague Senator Cooney who co-chairs the Marijuana Task Force of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus, New York has taken bold action to put a nail in the coffin of the war on drugs," said Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “The groundbreaking legalization law enacted last week comprehensively addresses the harms of overcriminalization and establishes one of the most ambitious marijuana legalization programs in the nation. Through this sweeping legislation, New York is delivering reforms that place community reinvestment, social equity, and justice at the core of the law. We are excited to continue to work with Senator Cooney and Legislative leaders to ensure that the values of racial and economic justice that were front and center in the campaign for marijuana justice and passed in the MRTA are also the grounding principles for implementation as we begin a new era in New York.”

Founder and Executive Director of Roc NORML, Mary Kruger
“Senator Cooney truly understands the importance of marijuana justice and all the ways smart legislation is going to benefit Rochester communities. When Roc NORML first began meeting with Senator Cooney over 2 years ago, the issue of marijuana justice was one he was not familiar with, and today he is a champion for the issue in Albany,” said Mary Kruger, Founder and Executive Director of Roc NORML. “Passing the MRTA was the first step towards bringing marijuana justice to New York, but the community engaging with the civic process is the only way we are going to ensure marijuana justice is carried out in New York. We are beyond grateful for Senator Cooney's dedication to and passion for fighting for marijuana justice and we're excited to continue working with him in the coming days, months, and years.”