Governor Cuomo Commissions Marijuana Legalization Task Force

By Benjie Cooper

IG: @nuglifenews

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The New York medical marijuana program was initiated in 2014 when Governor Andrew Cuomo [D] signed the Compassionate Care Act into law, establishing a system by which qualifying patients could obtain and use medicinal cannabis.

But like many states that have passed medical laws, adult-use marijuana hasn’t quite gotten there yet in New York. But that’s about to change.

In January, Governor Cuomo commissioned a report from the N.Y. Health Department to assess the potential impact that a regulated cannabis industry might have on the state. The report was released months later in July, coming out in support of marijuana legalization and stating that the benefits of a regulated market outweigh the potential impacts.

Citing the results of that study, Governor Cuomo announced this week that New York had commissioned a workgroup to draft legislation for the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

“I have reviewed the multi-agency report commissioned last January and have discussed its findings with Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker,” said Governor Cuomo in a Thursday press release. “The next steps must be taken thoughtfully and deliberately. As we work to implement the report’s recommendations through legislation.”

“We must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program,” he said. “Including its impact on public health, criminal justice, and state revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it.”

The move to legislate cannabis legalization in New York comes on the heels of another report from the Drug Policy Alliance that also pointed out a sizable racial bias in marijuana arrests by NYPD.

Once the workgroup has drafted a bill, the measure will be introduced into the legislature and, if they give it their approval, sent on to Governor Cuomo’s desk for his signature.