Will New York be next to legalize recreational pot?

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) "This is an important topic, it's a hotly debated topic-- pardon the pun-- but it would be nice to have some facts in the middle of it," Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-New York, said in his budget address.

Cuomo tasked a state panel with studying how other states have managed recreational marijuana and its legal, economic and health impacts.

Most of New York's borders have legalized pot, including Vermont, Canada and Massachusetts. And North Country lawmakers are weighing in on the issue.

"I think we need to work our way into it and really see the observation," said Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury.

"We're working on it but I think a cautious approach is not always the wrong approach," said Assemblyman D. Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay.

"The cops and the prosecutors are not convinced it's a good idea right now, but until we see some earth-shattering reasons to legalize it, I don't think this is the best way to balance the state's budget either," said Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.

There's concern about what it would mean for law enforcement. Plattsburgh Police say legalization could come with risks.

"One of the more obvious is traffic safety-- being able to detect impaired drivers under the influence of marijuana," Plattsburgh Police Lt. Brad Kiroy said.

He also mentioned first responder safety.

"You know the high-intensity lighting, electrical wiring, that kind of stuff that goes along with these grows, they kind of equate that to the same level of risk as a methamphetamine laboratory," Kiroy said.

But County Legislator Simon Conroy says there are ways to practice safe drug use.

"I think their biggest concern often is kids. They don't want kids to be doing drugs, which none of us want. I don't want my kid drinking vodka but vodka is OK in our society if people are able to use the drug, not abuse it," said Conroy, D-West Chazy.

There is still a lot more to come with this story and our Kelly O'Brien will be following it.