Previous attempts to accomplish this have failed miserably, although the state did manage to decriminalize the drug last year.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has unveiled his 2020 budget proposal, and with it, a plan to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Previous attempts to accomplish this have failed, although the state did manage to decriminalize the drug last year. Despite the bumping road, however, Cuomo appears outwardly optimistic that this year’s attempt will reach its final destination.
“I believe it is best done in the budget,” the governor stated. “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.”
Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Majority Leader of the State Legislature, cites shifting public opinion as a sign that New York is finally ready to adopt regulated recreational cannabis.
“If you look at the polls, if you look at the numbers, if you look at the states around us that have gone legal adult use, if you just go to Massachusetts and look at the number of New York State licence plates there are at their dispensaries, it might be an indication that some of our elected people across the state are changing their minds,” Peoples-Stokes stated.
But New Yorkers shouldn’t plan to start blazing on the streets with impunity just yet. If legalization passes as a component of this year’s budget, there are many details that remain to be established, and government officials expect that it will take some time to work out the specifics. It is expected to take even longer before the state sees a profit.
“Once we legalize adult use, it’s going to take us at least 18 months before there’s a regulatory process in place that would identify what potential revenues could be and what their uses could be,” cautioned Peoples-Stokes.
Cuomo has tapped former Rhode Island medical cannabis regulator Norman Birenbaum as New York’s new director for cannabis programs. The governor further intends to form a five-person control board to supervise the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.
Cannabis remains prohibited in the United States under federal law.
Written by Emma Spears