This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo highlighted marijuana legalization as one of his top priorities for the first 100 days of his third term, speaking about the imperative of addressing the abhorrent racial disparities and harsh collateral consequences that stem from prohibition.
With Cuomo’s commitment and Democrats regaining control of the New York Senate and Assembly for the first time since 2010, the question is no longer should New York legalize marijuana, but what legalization will look like.
Below is a statement from Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance:
“Governor Cuomo and the legislature must implement legalization in a way that ensures equity and diversity, while reinvesting in the communities hit hardest by marijuana criminalization. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act does all of these things, so Governor Cuomo and the new Democratic majority have a golden opportunity to get legalization done the right way, right away.”
The Drug Policy Alliance believes marijuana legalization is a social, racial, and economic justice issue, which means New York’s leaders must be responsive to the legacy of harm done in the name of prohibition, while creating an equitable framework for the legalized market.
• Marijuana legalization must address the ongoing, damaging collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization, including sealing records and changing administrative agency regulations to address directly impacted people
• Marijuana legalization must create a diverse and inclusive industry
• The new revenue from marijuana legalization must be used to reinvest in communities that have been impacted by prohibition
Last week, the Drug Policy Alliance brought together hundreds of leading experts from around the country to Albany for the Marijuana: Justice, Equity, and Reinvestment conference, which focused on how marijuana legalization in New York presents a unique and much-needed opportunity to create equity, economic justice, and work to restore communities most harmed by mass incarceration and the war on drugs.
The Drug Policy Alliance is currently leading a campaign, Start SMART New York, to legalize marijuana in New York for adult use, with a focus on racial, economic, and social justice.