New York governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed that a recreational marijuana legalization proposal would be included in his agenda for the 2019 legislative session which he plans to unveil on Monday when he lays out his upcoming legislative agenda at the New York City Bar Association. Cuomo's intentions were revealed during an interview with radio station 1010 WINS on Friday.
Support has been growing among New York lawmakers for some time, and nearly two-thirds of voters in the Empire State are in favor of legalizing marijuana. A Quinnipiac University survey from early 2018 showed that 63 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing marijuana. Currently, marijuana is legal in bordering states such as Vermont and Massachusetts, and New Jersey is on the verge of doing the same.
Earlier in 2018, Cuomo ordered a study to determine the health consequences and potential benefits of legalizing marijuana in the state. The panel came back with positive recommendations, pointing to benefits such as reducing illegal sales, better control over product quality (which in turn reduces health risks), increased tax revenue, and the ability to refocus law enforcement and public health resources on matters of greater consequences on public health and safety.
Earlier this month, members of the state Assembly gathered in Binghamton, New York for the third of four hearings on the issue which featured testimony from law enforcement officials and public health experts on both sides of the issue.
According to a report in Marijuana Moment, Cuomo is also rumored to be considering putting cannabis legalization in his 2019 budget, when he will be unveiling next month.