Capital Region residents got to share their thoughts on the legalization and regulation of marijuana in New York.

The first of 15 listening sessions, put on by the state, was held Wednesday night in Albany.

Earlier this summer, the state Department of Health recommended the full legalization of marijuana, saying the positives outweigh the negatives.

The state says the listening sessions are an opportunity to get input from community members and key stakeholders on beginning a regulated marijuana program, and that public input will help the Regulated Marijuana Workgroup draft an adult-use marijuana program legislation for state lawmakers to consider in the upcoming session.

"I'm really interested to see how they handle this,” said Schenectady resident Chelsea Mayo. “There are so many people in prison right because they were specifically targeted."

"In fighting opioids, marijuana is an essential tool in that fight," said Gloversville resident Rev. Hank McGrath.

Another meeting will be held Thursday in Glens Falls at SUNY Adirondack, with others happening across the state through early October.