Marijuana ‘Extremely Close’ to Being Legalized Across New York
A top New York lawmaker from the Mid-Hudson region says "It's a matter of when not if."
That's according to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. The Yonkers Democrat said Tuesday a bill to legalize marijuana across New York State is at its final stages.
“We are extremely close. We have reached a little bit of an impasse right now, and it has to do with impaired driving," Stewart-Cousins said, according to the New York Daily News. “We’re trying to figure a way forward so there can be some understanding of safety.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported legal marijuana for a few years, but it has failed to pass. He believes it would have passed in 2020, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic which had lawmakers focused on the pandemic rather than working out the final details on legalizing marijuana.
“I think this should’ve been passed years ago,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “I think too many people have been imprisoned, incarcerated, and punished. Too many of those people are Black, Latino, and poor. It’s exaggerated the injustice of the justice system.”
Legalization is projected to create more than 60,000 new jobs, and spur $3.5 billion in economic activity while generating an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully implemented, officials say.
In January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo promised New Yorkers legal marijuana is coming real soon. He pledged in his State of the State Address to legalize marijuana in New York State by the end of 2020 to help the state deal with a $6 billion budget gap.
In early April, just before the budget was approved, he said it wasn't likely that marijuana would be legalized in 2020. He said legalizing the drug was one of the most complicated issues he has faced and he didn't have the time to work on legalizing marijuana as he dealt with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Last month, Cuomo released some major changes to his proposal to legalize weed across New York State. You can see those changes below.