The top counsel in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Wednesday pointed to the proposal that would combine the regulation of medical and commercial cannabis, as well as industrialized hemp.

The proposal is part of Cuomo’s plan for the creation of the State Office of Cannabis Management, which plans to regulate the retail aspect of the plan much in the same way alcohol is in New York.

“With this legislation, we have the opportunity to establish a strong framework that addresses the significant social justice, economic justice, public safety, and public health concerns that confront us today – concerns that will only increase in scope and complexity with the expansion of the illicit in-state market and legal markets in neighboring jurisdictions,” David told lawmakers at a hearing on the issue on Wednesday. “Taking no action and maintaining the status quo is simply no longer sustainable.”

At the same time, the law is meant to spur economic opportunities for communities impacted by prior drug laws, David said.

“The Office will accomplish these goals within a robust social justice and economic justice framework, ensuring the broadest possible inclusion in all aspects of this new industry,” he said. “In fact, the proposal requires that the Office administer a comprehensive social equity program to guarantee that disadvantaged communities have opportunities to participate.”

The effort to legalize cannabis for retail and commercial sale is also likely to be one of the more complicated criminal justice law reforms as well. Lawmakers are likely to call for the expunging of records for low-level drug offenses as paired with any plan for legalization.

David, questioned by lawmakers, said the legislation could also lead to the sealing of criminal records and allow some low-level cases to be re-heard.