Speaking Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters New York has little choice when it comes to legalizing recreational marijuana.
With neighboring states, like Massachusetts and New Jersey, moving to make the drug legal, Cuomo says New York has been forced to act.
“It’s a false choice, [whether to] legalize marijuana or not,” Governor Cuomo said. “Because we’re there already.”
The governor added, “It is legal in Massachusetts. It’s going to be legal in New Jersey. So, it’s not really ‘is marijuana going to be legalized?’ It is going to be legalized… For New York to be inbetween Massachusetts and New Jersey, and say ‘We don’t believe it should be legal…’ It is legal. You’ll just force people to drive to Massachusetts or New Jersey and come back to this state and use it in this state.”
Earlier this year, on the heels of a new study from the state health department that found the benefits of marijuana legalization outweighed the negatives, Governor Cuomo formed a group to draft legislation for legalization.
The legislature is expected to act on marijuana during next year’s session. The governor put legalization as one of his goals for the first 100 days of his third term as well.