With Governor Cuomo declining to include marijuana legalization in the state budget, which was finalized yesterday, it must now get enacted via stand-alone legislation in the coming months. In a radio interview yesterday, Cuomo doubled down on his previous commitments to pass a marijuana legalization law. While he had previously committed to including it in the state budget, he now insists it can be passed into law before the legislative session ends in June.
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"We believe that New Yorkers deserve more than unmet promises and empty rhetoric around marijuana reform,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “Each day marijuana legalization is not passed, someone is arrested, deported, evicted or loses custody of a child because of criminalization. Each day that New York’s leaders maintain prohibition, someone can’t pass a background check, has their parole revoked, or loses a job.”
Last week, DPA and 200-plus members of the Start SMART NY coalition from across the state held a 3-hour rally at the State Legislature in Albany. DPA and unlikely allies stood together to call for legalization in the budget as part of a rally outside Governor Cuomo’s office, which was featured on the front page of the Albany Times-Union.
The New York City Council also approved resolutions last week in support of DPA’s model for equitable marijuana legalization rooted in economic and racial justice.
“It is past time for the NY legislature to pass the Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act,” added Frederique. “It is also time for Governor Cuomo to keep his commitment to marijuana reform, and the justice that he has promised. The clock for passing marijuana justice starts now."