After hitting a major roadblock last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) promises he will have cannabis legalization passed in the Empire State by June.
Cannabis consumers in New York recently got some bad news when Gov. Cuomo announced that marijuana legalization wasn't going to make it on to the state's budget this year. Cuomo has been working to put cannabis on the budget since January, repeatedly saying that getting weed on the budget would be the quickest and easiest path to legalization. Despite this setback, Cuomo said he is still committed to bringing legal cannabis to New York before the state's legislature adjourns in June.
"We will get marijuana done, it's not a question of political desire, it's a question of practical reality of how you put the new system in place," Cuomo said on WAMC radio Monday.
However, other supporters of cannabis legalization aren't so sure Cuomo will be able to push legalization through by summertime. Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI) said she fears that New York will see something similar to what recently happened in New Jersey. Last week, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney announced that the Senate Assembly's vote on cannabis legalization would be canceled due to lack of support - despite backing from NJ Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
"This is going to be more difficult to pass as a stand-alone bill outside the budget. Look what happened in New Jersey last week," Savino said.
Cuomo's push for marijuana on the budget was stalled by lack of agreement between lawmakers and advocates about what form legalization should take. Solving these issues are likely going to be Cuomo's biggest concern if he still wants to see cannabis legalization passed this session. And while he admitted it "won't be easy" to come to an agreement, he believes it can still get done.
"In the rush of the budget, we couldn't do it intelligently," Cuomo said. "We have the whole rest of the session [to get it done]."
And while it's commendable that political leaders like Govs. Cuomo and Murphy are fighting to legalize cannabis via the state legislature, there simply isn't much precedent for this. Of the ten sates that have legal recreational cannabis, only Vermont has done it without putting legalization on the state ballot.
h/t New York Post