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article imageNew York may become next state to legalize marijuana

By Karen Graham     Dec 17, 2018 in Politics
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced his support for legalizing recreational marijuana, another sign of his shift toward progressive policy positions in recent months, after facing a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon.
Governor Cuomo is calling the legalization of recreational marijuana one of his biggest priorities this year. "We have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and well off, and one for everyone else," Cuomo said on Monday morning. "And that's going to end."
Speaking at the New York State Bar Association in Manhattan where he outlined his legislative priorities for his first 100 days of his new term in office, he kept to his progressive tone — with plans to keep the millionaires’ tax, cut taxes for working families, get the Equal Rights law passed in New York, and increase the firearm waiting period from three days to 10 days.
Cuomo also said he is exploring the possibility of dropping arrests for marijuana possession from people's records (who tend to disproportionately be people of color), which many people think is something that needs to be done.
Cuomo has done an 180-degree about-face with his position on marijuana. He called marijuana a "gateway drug" as recently as February 2017. However, his changing attitude also reflects on the open-mindedness Cuomo has shown in response to changing public attitudes.
For example, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 63 percent of New Yorkers favor legalizing marijuana. This also follows the release of a report this summer by the New York State Health Department recommending the legalization of marijuana in New York State.
The report, commissioned by the governor, concludes that “taxing and regulating marijuana far outweighs any potential negative consequences.” The report recommends allowing recreational marijuana to be made available to adults across the state and claims taxes would bring in over $1.3 billion each year from sales of the controversial substance.
It was after this that Cuomo convened a task force to draw up legislation in terms of business licenses, taxation and how and where marijuana can be used.
“The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult-use cannabis — and the best way to do that is to ensure our final proposal captures the views of everyday New Yorkers,” spokesman Tyrone Stevens told the New York Post last week when previewing the proposal.
Should Governor Cuomo's proposal come to fruition, New York state will join 10 other states in legalizing the use of recreational marijuana.
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