Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to legalize recreational marijuana in NYS. The news came during a speech given on Monday, where the governor outlined priorities for 2019. Also included in the speech were plans to put an end to the disparities in the criminal justice system that all too often affect African Americans and other minority groups.
While Cannabis and all compounds from the plant remain Federally illegal, New York would be joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Canada.
The proposal is likely to gain support, now that Democrats control the state senate. The news sparked discussion about how to use the new tax revenue if such a bill should pass. Other states have used tax revenue from marijuana sales to fund education and transportation initiatives. An Assemblyman from Brooklyn stated that the money should be used to correct past injustices, implying that it be allocated to African American and minority communities.
This news comes following a report issued earlier this year at the Governor’s request. The report aimed to assess the overall impact recreational legalization would have on the state. Experts from the Department of Health, Office of Mental Health, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the NYS Police, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of taxation in finance, and the department of transportation contributed to the report.
The report discussed findings from the state’s medical-marijuana program and evaluated studies in support of and in opposition to legalization. There were discussions on the risk of increasing adolescent use, psychosis, and impaired driving.
Overall the report determined the benefits of a regulated legal marijuana market outweigh the risks.
Tax revenue is expected to surpass $248M in year one.