According to a report by the New York Post, Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to announce the details of his plan to create a recreational marijuana market in the State of New York during next Month's Executive Budget Address.
Last spring, Cuomo announced that he was going to begin looking into the possibilities of creating an adult use cannabis market in New York, including all the potential negative and positive consequences that could arise as a result. This was a drastic reversal from his opinion that marijuana is a dangerous "gateway drug", only a few years ago.
Cuomo's plan was to take a cautious approach, in an attempt to not make the same mistakes other states have made transitioning to a legal cannabis market. The first order of business was to direct the Department of Health to conduct a study into the possible outcomes of such a program and what the consequences could be for the citizens of New York and neighboring states.
By mid summer, the Department of Health had completed its study, and the results were very encouraging. It was clear from their research that the negatives did not outweigh the positives, and that it would be in the best interest of the state to initiate the program.
Despite all that good news, Governor Cuomo decided he needed to know more, so his office set up "listening sessions" in more than a dozen locations all over the state. This was designed to field questions and hear concerns from the communities that would be directly affected by this new program.
The "listening sessions" took place in September and October and have now concluded .The information received during these meetings was considered and used when drafting the framework for the adult use market.
Also on the table is the issue of record expungement. Democratic lawmakers are pushing to expunge the records of those who were arrested for marijuana offenses at some point in their life. Recent reports, even one by the NYPD, have confirmed that the overwhelming majority of low level marijuana arrests are black and latino residents.
New York would not be alone in erasing marijuana convictions from users pasts, as it has become a common discussion amongst states that are transitioning to a legal market.
While details surrounding the new program have been few and far between, it seems clear that legal weed is on the way and will be passed into law by the end of 2019.