Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday defended the proposal that would allow local governments to opt out of the law allowing for adult-use marijuana sales in New York, calling the issue a still-controversial matter in some parts of New York.

“This is a controversial area,” Cuomo told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer this morning. “Some people think it’s a no-brainer, so to speak. Some communities have real concerns and my opinion is democracy still exists, especially on an issue like this where people still have differences of opinion.”

The opt out clause would allow both large cities and counties to vote on whether to allow the program.

“They would affirmatively have to vote to opt out,” Cuomo said. “The main question is whether they would have to opt in or opt out.”

He predicted that “New York City is going to opt in.”

Not everyone is pleased with the opt-out clause. Sen. Julia Salazar called the provision “unacceptable.”

“New Yorkers have been enormously harmed by criminalization,” she wrote on Twitter. “Alleviating that harm must be our top priority.”

Cuomo’s proposal would decriminalize marijuana everywhere, but the opt out would prevent retail sales in the areas that choose to do so.

Marijuana purchases would be limited to those age 21 and older. Lawmakers and Cuomo are also likely to move toward some form of criminal justice law changes related marijuana convictions.