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Recreational marijuana should be legalized, New York report concludes

New York could take in up to $678 million in tax revenue in a year if it legalizes marijuana for recreational use, according to a long-awaited report issued Friday by the state Department of Health.

The state Health Department's 74-page report officially backed the legalization of marijuana, concluding that the "positive effects" outweigh the "potential negative effects."

That conclusion was anti-climactic: Health Commissioner Howard Zucker had previously said the report would support legalization.

But the full report, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered in January, analyzed an array of economic, social and criminal-justice issues associated with the drug, estimating the state could see anywhere from $248 million to $678 million added to its coffers in the first year depending on the price of the drug and the rate it's taxed.

"The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts," the report reads. "Areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations."
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