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Al Harrington, JR Smith show up in Albany to support marijuana legalization

Al Harrington, JR Smith

Al Harrington and J.R. Smith are pushing for the legalization of marijuana.

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes invited Harrington and Smith to Albany as legislators meet to convene about the use of medical and recreational marijuana. Peoples-Stokes is the sponsor of the recreational marijuana legislation, and the presence of Harrington and Smith were expected to add star power in their push to legalize marijuana.

As noted by Bernadette Hogan and Ebony Bowden of The New York Post, Harrington said that “he and Smith had ‘expertise’ in both medical and recreational marijuana and were pushing for black communities to be included in the proposed legislation.”

“It’s been very positive,” Harrington said of his meetings with legislators. “You know this is something that they want, but they want to do it the right way. We met with a bunch of different assembly members and senators, legislators and just kind of just giving our opinion from our perspective being that we’re black.”

“We feel that it’s very important that we need to have the seat at the table so we can use some of these funds to rebuild our communities.”

In a statement last April, New York governor Andrew Cuomo was confident the state would pass a law which would make recreational marijuana legal before the legislature adjourns on June 19. However, that changed over the past few weeks, as state lawmakers are holding out and acting tentatively.

The NBA remains torn about the use of marijuana by players, though the league is strongly lightening its stance on the use of the substance. Harrington and Smith lobbying for its legalization in New York should also push the NBA in re-considering their stance.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently spoke about the use of marijuana by players, though he didn’t give a straight answer and only said they are talking about it.

Marijuana has been on the NBA’s banned substances list since 1999. Will this change anytime soon? Only time will tell.