New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing to legalize the use of marijuana, one of his goals for the new year.
In his 2021 State of the State address on Monday (Jan. 11), Cuomo revealed seven points of his plan, which includes beating the global pandemic, vaccination distribution, the management of the state’s economy, switching to green energy, and systemic injustices. One of his missions for the year is to invest in the future which includes creating a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee a new adult-use, cannabis market and offer “licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color.”
“We will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 states that have already done so,” tweeted Cuomo. “This will raise revenue and end the failed prohibition of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.”
Nearly two years ago, Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize marijuana use and expunge the records of those convicted “of certain marijuana offenses” in the state of New York. When proposing the legalization of recreational use, Cuomo was met with pushback around the distribution of tax revenue.
“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Governor Cuomo said in July 2019. “By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”
In this proposal, Cuomo believes a new legalized marijuana program could reel in $300 million in tax revenue per year. The states of New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the 2020 elections, but it has not been made legal just yet.
To date, there are 10 legally cleared states including The District of Columbia: Washington (state), Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. If a bill ends up being signed this year, New York will technically become the 12th state government to do so.