NY Governor, lawmakers talk recreational marijuana legalization after NJ voters approve

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With voters in states, including neighboring New Jersey, approving to legalize recreational marijuana, some are asking if New York will follow suit.

“New Jersey did it on the ballot, which, in retrospect, I think was probably, turned out to be the faster way to do it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during an interview on WAMC Radio’s The Roundtable with Alan Chartock.

The Governor, who supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, said he thinks the state will “get there” in 2021, called it the “right policy,” and said “the state is going to be desperate for funding.”

“The question becomes about the money, about the distribution, and the power… who gets the licenses and who gets the money,” he said.

Last year, New York decriminalized recreational marijuana but stopped short of legalizing, regulating and taxing it. Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay is personally against legalization and believes his conference is split on it.

“You know, we already have problems with drugs whether it’s meth or opioids or whatever. Seems like to me it’s the opposite direction we should go in. Instead of legalizing more drugs, we should probably push the other way,” he said.

Democrat Senator Liz Krueger, who has previously introduced legislation to regulate and tax recreational marijuana, said while the New Jersey Legislature and Governor still have to complete the process, “… the result of Tuesday’s referendum means that the door is open for legalized adult-use marijuana in yet another of our neighboring states. That means one more of our neighbors moving ahead of us toward legalization, and toward reaping the benefits in terms of jobs, tax revenue, and social justice. This is a competition New York should have won, but now we are being left behind.”

New York State enacted its medical marijuana program in 2014.

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