With Legal Marijuana, Some Fear Rise In Crime, Driving Under Influence, Decreased Quality Of Life

The legislation has won praise from many supporters, but opponents have voiced several concerns. CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports.

Video Transcript

- Recreational marijuana is now legal for adults in New York, and revenue from pot could bring the state billions of dollars. But critics say legalization comes with consequences. CBS2's Andrea Grimes live outside Governor Cuomo's office in Midtown with more on this very big change. Andrea?

ANDREA GRYMES: Well, that's right, Dana. And the governor wasted no time signing this bill into law less than 24 hours after the legislature passed it. It has a ton of support, but also a lot of critics.

STEVE MAGNUSSON: I'm a little afraid of it.

ANDREA GRYMES: Upper East Side resident Steve Magnusson says he's nervous about New York now legalizing recreational marijuana, concerned after seeing the effects in his home state of Washington, which legalized weed in 2012.

STEVE MAGNUSSON: Crime is up. It seems to have poor results, so I don't think it's a great idea.

ANDREA GRYMES: Governor Cuomo signed the wide-ranging legislation today. Among the new rules, New Yorkers over age 21 are now allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of pot outside their homes. They can also grow as many as six mature plants per household. It's all expected to generate some $350 million in tax revenue each year. The law, designed to address racial disparities in enforcement, is praised by supporters.

- Yeah, it's great. Why not?

- People are already doing it, so you might as well make money off it.

ANDREA GRYMES: But many others are worried, including the NYPD. They fear it will lead to more problems on the road and more problems on the streets, since the new law makes it legal to smoke pot outside anywhere smoking tobacco is allowed. Chief of department Rodney Harrison says that was already a problem when he worked in Harlem, plus citywide.

RODNEY HARRISON: That was a major complaint. People did not want to walk into their buildings and have to smell marijuana.

DERMOT SHEA: There really is no easy test for marijuana. And anything that's potentially leading to an increase of impaired driving, I think, of course we're concerned.

ANDREA GRYMES: Mayor de Blasio says legalizing is long overdue, especially since many already use marijuana. He was asked about negative consequences for the city.

BILL DE BLASIO: I do understand the concern, truly. But I think it is like every other challenge in society. Bring it out in the open, and address it, and educate people, and take the steps to help people be their best selves and be safe.

ANDREA GRYMES: This law also reduces penalties for possession and sales, and creates automatic expungement or resentencing for prior marijuana convictions that would now be legal under the new law. Reporting live outside the governor's office in Midtown, Andrea Grymes, CBS2 News.

- Andrea, thank you very much.