New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal on Wednesday to legalize recreational marijuana in New York this year.

Feature photo source: Unsplash/Unsplash

Governor Cuomo’s marijuana legalization plan

Cuomo addressed the press on Wednesday calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use by adults in the state. 

Cuomo expressed dissatisfaction because recreational marijuana hasn’t been legalized all these years. For an empire state, it does pose a lot of questions.

During the interview, Cuomo said, “I think this should have been passed years ago.”

Cuomo’s plan is to create a new Cannabis Management office that will act as the state’s regulator for the cannabis industries.

The governor’s office said the plan will create “an equitable structure” for the cannabis market “by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.”

Marijuana and racial discrimination in New York

This being the third year he has made the proposal, Cuomo reckoned that the move would remedy the racial disparity in the justice system.

“I think too many people have been imprisoned and incarcerated and punished. Too many of those people are black, Latino and poor. It’s exaggerated the injustice of the justice system,” Cuomo said at the Wednesday press briefing.

Marijuana as a source of revenue in New York

Since the first outbreak about a year ago, the effects of Coronavirus have been felt all over the globe.

Governor Cuomo believes that cannabis will be a much-needed fix for the deteriorated state of the economy thus far.

“For years I’ve tried to pass it, but this is a year where we do need the funding and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling, so I think this year will give us the momentum to get it over the goal line,” he added.

COVID-19 in New York

According to the Democratic Governor, there is hope that New York will come out stronger after rebuilding.

“Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

Cuomo’s previous attempts at legalizing adult-use marijuana in New York

This is not his first declaration. Last year, Cuomo expressed faith in marijuana being a big revenue driver for the state this year.

“There are a lot of reasons to get it done, but one of the benefits is it also brings in revenue, and all states—but especially this state—we need revenue and we’re going to be searching the cupboards for revenue. And I think that is going to put marijuana over the top,” he said in a previous interview.

Marijuana’s sales data in other states

A number of states have proven Cuomo’s theory so far.

Illinois and Colorado are some of the success stories each surpassing the $1 billion dollar mark in marijuana sales during the pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has twice included proposals to legalize cannabis for adult use in his annual budget requests, but negotiations between his office and the legislature have failed to produce a passable bill to date.

The pressure to legalize recreational marijuana is on in New York

New York residents have turned up the pressure on recreational marijuana legalization in the state. This is after their counterparts in the tri-state area celebrated their big election day wins.

New Jersey in particular was one of the states that propelled the green wave forward at the ballot on November 3.

With about two-thirds of New Jersey voters in favor of the motion, marijuana won by a landslide.

“As everyone knows, Massachusetts has legalized marijuana. New Jersey is going to legalize marijuana. So, what are we really talking about at this point?” Cuomo mused.

Kathy Hochul in support of Gov. Cuomo

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said on Wednesday that she agrees with Cuomo.

“Our State needs to finally legalize recreational marijuana with an equitable program that generates much-needed revenue for New York,” she said.

Marijuana in New York City

 Medical marijuana in New York has enjoyed legal status for the last five years. However, only 10 companies are licensed to sell it in the state today. 

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