New York Governor Andrew Cuomo [D)] announced his support for legal cannabis in the state during his 2019 agenda speech in Manhattan on Monday.
A former marijuana opponent, Cuomo commissioned a study in January which determined that the benefits of taxation and regulation would outweigh any potential negative impact.
When the results of the study were released in July, Cuomo stated that the situation on marijuana was changing and appointed a panel to draft legislation by the next month. In September, New York hosted a series of sessions in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island to gather public input on legalization.
During his speech on Monday, the governor pledged to address forms of injustices that have disproportionately affected African American and other minority communities in New York for “too long.”
“We have had two criminal justice systems, one for the wealthy and the well-off, and one for everyone else,” said Cuomo. “And that’s going to end. We must also end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all.”
There is no clear timeline for cannabis legalization at the moment but WNBC reports that Cuomo plans to push for the measure within the first 100 days of his third term. Legalization in New York would include government regulation, legal sales, and taxes.