For the second year in a row, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a pledge that his state would legalize marijuana for recreational use.
As noted by Reuters, Governor Cuomo made marijuana legalization a key priority as he outlined his agenda for 2020, saying taxes imposed by a regulatory scheme could bring some $300 million into the state’s coffers and confront injustices in enforcement of drug laws. “For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws. Last year we righted that injustice when we decriminalized possession,” Cuomo said in his annual State of the State address.
“This year let’s work with our neighbors New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, to coordinate a safe and fair system and let’s legalize adult use of marijuana,” Cuomo said.
Last year, in his 2019 State of the State speech, Cuomo had also declared his intention to legalize marijuana, citing the potential revenues and harm to poorer communities, but the effort foundered in the Democrat-controlled state legislature, states Reuters.
If New York does legalize marijuana, they would become the 12th state to do so. All 11 states that have legalize marijuana have done so since 2012, when Washington and Colorado simultaneously became the first states to full legalize the plant (including retail sales) since its prohibition began decades ago. In addition, over 30 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and polling shows that over 60% of all adults in the United States support legalizing marijuana, including a majority of Republicans.
In New York marijuana possession has been decriminalized for years, although public display or consumption remains a crime, and there is no legal means of obtaining the substance unless you’re a medical patient and purchase from one of the state’s highly regulated and restrictive dispensaries.