April 5, 2022, By Maury Thompson

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, criticized legislation that passed the House late last week to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

“The soft-on-crime approach to this legislation would incentivize bad actors and transnational criminal organizations to flood our communities with drugs,” Stefanik said in a statement on Tuesday, responding to aPost-Starrequest for comment about her vote against the legislation.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-Manhattan, who introduced the legislation, said it would blaze “a new path forward” in the regulation of marijuana and formation of public attitude.

“For far too long we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of as a matter of personal choice and public health,” he said in remarks on the House floor on Friday.

The legislation is not expected to pass the Senate, but it provides House members an opportunity to go on record on the issue, The Associated Press reported.

Stefanik said the House has higher priorities, such as inflation and crime, that it should be addressing.

Twelve New York Democratic House members, including Rep. Paul Tonko, co-sponsored the legislation.

The legislation passed the House on Friday by a vote of 220-204, with three Republicans voting in favor and two Democrats voting against.

The legislation — HR 3617 — removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substance Act, the federal law that regulates controlled drugs.

The legislation eliminates federal criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes or possesses marijuana.

Nadler said the legislation does not infringe on states’ rights.

“It does not, however, undermine the ability of states to apply their criminal laws to marijuana or to legalize it or regulate it as they see fit,” he said.

NY-21 Democratic congressional candidate Matt Putorti on Saturday praised the legislation.

“This legislation has my support,” Putorti posted on Twitter.

In the 20th Congressional District, Republican candidate Liz Joy, who is challenging Tonko, commented sarcastically about the legislation.

“Glad to see that they have their priorities straight with everything else going on in our nation and the world,” she posted on Twitter.

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