New York to push forward with cannabis legislation despite coronavirus outbreak

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Governor Cuomo plans on trying to make cannabis legal as soon as possible

Luckily for New York state, Governor Andrew Cuomo is fully supportive of having legal cannabis. Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, he will continue pushing for the lawmakers to continue working on the current legalization plans. On Monday, the governor was asked during a public briefing what his priorities were for the upcoming budget facing April 1 deadline. He admitted there were some policies that will require more time due to their complexity, but he insisted on saying the legislature should still pursue cannabis legalization.

“We will pass a budget and address the policy items that we laid out and we discussed because it’s not just about passing a budget and the numbers,” Cuomo said. “There are many policy initiatives that I laid out back in January, and we’re going to pursue all of them.”

Cuomo didn’t make clear if the cannabis legislation is one of those complex projects that could be delayed, but given past experiences, it might be one. “The only caveat was if you have a really complex issue that normally would require weeks of nuanced, detailed negotiation to do it right, that we won’t do. Because I don’t want to pass any bills that are not really intelligent that I then have to come back and deal with again next year,” Cuomo added. “If it’s a highly complex issue, I get it and then let’s put it off because we don’t want to do something sloppy.”

Also referring to the same topic, Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) clarified the agency’s position in a press release. “DPA’s position is that if the state legislature and Governor are going to have substantive discussions about adult-use legalization for the budget, then the conversation must center marijuana justice,” she said. “It is exceedingly important for New York to do legalization right—our regulatory framework must center people who have been impacted by the drug war, create equity and diversity, and support small businesses and farmers.”