Cuomo Changes His Mind
Legal cannabis wasn’t a huge issue during New York’s general election, but it emerged as a spotlight issue in the primary between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Cynthia Nixon.
Nixon loudly embraced legalization and found traction on the issue. Her success led Cuomo to order a Department of Health study on the issue, which returned the conclusion that “the positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts.”
Legalization, the Health Department suggested, could cut down on disproportionate drug prosecutions in poor and non-white communities, provide a better regulation of the substance for sale, and raise a significant amount of tax revenue for a state that spends heavily. After the release of the report, Cuomo abandoned his long-held opposition to legalization.
Since then, momentum of the issue has only increased. Earlier this month, the governor declared that legalization is one of his top priorities for 2019 and pledged to get it done in his state budget proposal. While the final budget won’t be voted on by state legislators until April 1st, the budget process is very much shaped by the governor’s whims and usually done behind closed doors with the leaders of the Assembly and state Senate.
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