New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Vows to ‘Legalize Cannabis’

Marijuana
AP Photo/Richard Vogel

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released a proposal to “legalize and create a comprehensive system to oversee and regulate cannabis in New York.”

The move, which was announced on Monday, comes as part of the 2021 State of the State, which was laid out by Cuomo on Monday.

“We will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 states that have already done so,” Cuomo wrote in a tweet, which included a link to the proposal. “This will raise revenue and end the failed prohibition of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.”

Under Cuomo’s plan, an “Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs.”

A press release for the proposal also noted that “an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.”

Regarding the proposal and the “opportunity to generate much-needed revenue,” Cuomo said:

Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before. Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.

In 2019, Cuomo signed legislation that decriminalized penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana and implemented a process to expunge records for certain convictions related to the use of marijuana.

In early December, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, the first time Congress had acted on the issue. That legislation was struck down by the GOP-led Senate shortly after.

For more information on Cuomo’s proposal regarding the recreational use of cannabis in the state of New York, click here.

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