Deal Imminent On New York Marijuana Legalization Bill As Governor Touts Progress

MJ moment

Marijuana reform advocates are seeing a number of positive signals in the push to legalize marijuana in New York—with the governor saying a deal is “very close” and a new resolution from the Senate saying that a legalization bill “shall be passed outside of the budget process.” While Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included his own legalization plan in his budget request, the final version is expected to more closely resemble a proposal sponsored by two key lawmakers, and it will be handled outside of the annual spending legislation. And if either side needed any further motivation to act, a new poll released on Monday confirms again that a majority of New Yorkers support the policy change. The news about how the legislation will be handled moving forward is welcomed by advocates who feel that lawmakers’ Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) more comprehensively addresses social equity issues compared to the governor’s proposal. However, the legislature is still working to resolve a number of provisions before the language is released. Cuomo said on Monday that “passing marijuana reform and legalizing recreational marijuana” remains a priority and that he spent the weekend speaking with Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D), sponsor of the MRTA, “working through” the legislation. He said they are “very close on marijuana.” “We’ve tried to do that for the past three years, we have to get it done this year,” he said. “There’s been too many young lives that have been ruined because of the marijuana laws.” “This is not about getting in the red zone anymore,” he added, using a football metaphor. “We have to get over the goal line this time. We need the seven points.” The governor previously insisted on enacting the reform through the budget process, but that doesn’t seem to be part of…

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