Today, live from the New York City Bar Association, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed his plans for the upcoming year, which included a shoutout of support for his plan to create a recreational marijuana market in the state.
"Let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana, once and for all," Cuomo said.
This plan has been in motion since last January, when the Governor announced his intention to weigh the pros and cons of adult use cannabis in New York, where there is already a limited medical marijuana program in place. This was a huge reversal from his previous stance, that marijuana was a dangerous gateway drug and should remain illegal.
During last years Executive Budget Address, Cuomo announced a Department of Health study into the ramifications of legalizing the plant, specifically the effect it would have on law enforcement as well as neighboring states.
By the end of the summer, the results were in and overwhelmingly positive. Not only would marijuana generate over a billion dollars in revenue for the city, it could reduce the use of opioid painkillers, an important aspect at a time when the opioid crisis has reached epic proportions.
"We have a federal gov't that is taking us backwards, and violating our civil liberties and national values." Cuomo went on to talk about the advantages the state has as a result of the most recent midterm elections. "We have a Democratic Assembly and a Democratic Senate, so we can actually get things done," Cuomo said. "So i want to commence action immediately."
Just before Cuomo gave his speech at the NYC bar association, New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes was named the first female majority leader of the State Assembly. If you are unfamiliar with Crystal Peoples Stokes, she was the pioneer of cannabis legislation in the state. This is definitely another win for recreational cannabis in New York.
While extremely brief, the one statement Cuomo made regarding cannabis was powerful because it left no room for ambiguity. The research has been done and he is clearly comfortable moving forward with the legalization of marijuana for adults in the State of New York, something I believe we can all expect to see in 2019.