How New York Marijuana Legalization Efforts Could Be Impacted By Cuomo’s Scandals

MJ moment

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) growing number of scandals in recent weeks over harassment allegations and nursing home death data could leave him with even less political capital to defend his marijuana legalization proposal against a competing reform bill favored by leading lawmakers and activists. While the governor has pushed the legislature to pass his measure as part of a budget plan, he’s faced pushback from certain members who feel it doesn’t go far enough to promote social equity and that they should advance their own version first before entering into negotiations with the administration. That was before numerous women came forward accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment and unwanted advances during his time in office. While he’s apologized over certain behavior, he’s denied other claims such as one alleging that he kissed a former aide without consent. Now, as the governor is increasingly being backed against the wall and facing calls for resignation by legislative leaders, it stands to reason that he’s on even worse footing to promote his own cannabis bill over that of Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D) and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D). Both lawmakers took part in a NY Women in Cannabis Lobby Day organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and Women Grow on Monday. But while they each pushed for the passage of their bill—the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA)—they did not directly weigh in on how, if at all, the governor’s mounting controversies could impact those prospects. “We cannot stop. As a matter of fact, we need to start pounding a little harder—not just on the governor, but on people across the state,” Peoples-Stokes said. The leader also said polling on legalization shows that, if New York had a referendum process to place the issue on the ballot,…

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