Gov. Cuomo reiterated his intention to legalize marijuana in New York, and state voters are in favor of ending prohibition.
New Yorkers have heard this one before. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week marijuana legalization will be included in his administration’s 2020 budget proposal. The move signals another ardent effort from the governor to push the issue through the state legislature.
Cuomo made similar gestures last year, including placing marijuana legalization in his administration’s 2019 budget proposal. He eventually removed legalization from the budget once it became clear state lawmakers would not agree on significant details ahead of legislative deadlines. Cuomo believes, however, that this year will be different.
“Legalize adult use cannabis,” Cuomo said in his budget speech. “I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish. I suggest that we get it done in the budget.”
The announcement coincides with a new poll that shows support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high in New York. A Sienna College poll released Tuesday reported that New York voters are in favor of ending prohibition by a 58 to 38 margin. The issue is not supported from both political sides, however. Republican voters oppose legalization by a 65-31 margin.
The intended legislation would marijuana for adults ages 21 and older, with an intention to correct past harms on individuals and communities disproportionately affected by prohibition. In addition, New York plans to coordinate their legalization efforts with neighboring states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
“This year Governor Cuomo is proposing a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis, creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to specialize in cannabis regulation—overseeing the medical, adult-use and hemp programs,” Cuomo’s administration stated in a release. “The proposal will administer social equity licensing opportunities, develop an egalitarian adult-use market structure and facilitate market entry through access to capital, technical assistance and incubation of equity entrepreneurs.”