The discussion continues about the possibility of New York State legalizing and regulation recreational marijuana use for adults.
Soon, people across the state will have a chance to give their input on the potential for pot becoming legal.
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is one of several elected officials planning several public Assembly hearings this fall. Peoples-Stokes has long been in favor of the idea of legalizing marijuana and has sponsored a bill to regulate and tax it in New York State.
A 2017 poll from Yahoo News and Marist College found 52 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have tried using marijuana.
"From individuals, from scientists, from doctors, from other practitioners, from people in the community," she said in Albany. "We want to learn more about what people think about the idea."
Peoples-Stokes said decriminalizing marijuana use could have a drastic effect on her constituents and people spanning New York.
"I represent a community where people of color, black and brown men and women, have been incarcerated for using a product that the majority of Americans use,” she said. “Yet, we're the only ones that are arrested, incarcerated, and quite frankly face lifetime sentences even after you're out of jail.”
Governor Cuomo has softened his stance, announcing earlier this month he'll appoint a working group to study the issue.
That gives Peoples-Stokes hope that her bill could pass next year, as opinions of the public and state leaders change about recreational pot use.
"We're not talking about the same product we were talking about in the 1950s," she said. "We're talking about something that could be used to be transformative in people's lives, no matter what their health conditions are or no matter what their stations are in life.
"This is not something that you want to incarcerate people for. This is something you want to be able to build economies on."
Peoples-Stokes says the Assembly will have a public hearing on legalizing marijuana in Buffalo sometime this fall.
Separately, Governor Cuomo also announced one of 15 listening sessions across the state will happen in the Queen City on October 3, with a location to be determined.