For a governor that has called marijuana a gateway drug in the past, Governor Andrew Cuomo is now going full force ahead, mentioning again his plan to legalize marijuana.
“To legalizing marijuana, to protecting the labor movement, to a green new deal, to real criminal justice reform – we will make history,” Gov. Cuomo said.
During his inauguration, Governor Cuomo mentioned legalizing marijuana twice in his speech. All within the first 100 days and legislators seem to agree that its possible.
“The governor has shown a tremendous ability that if he sets a goal he accomplishes the goal,” Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) said.
“I think its very feasible, this issue seems quite lit up, pun intended,” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) said.
With Democrats controlling both houses, legalizing marijuana is starting to seem like a sure thing. Assemblywoman Fahy is one of the few Democrats asking the Governor to start pumping the brakes.
“The fact that Canada has legalized it, is not the same as New York legalizing it. When New York does it, it matters, that’s why its imperative that New York do this right.”
Fahy is worried that there is a rise in teens smoking marijuana and an increase of impaired drivers in other states. While New York does have drug recognition experts, Fahy believes this area should still be studied further.
“We don’t know if you were just impaired five minutes behind the wheel or three days before and it makes it a little tougher to prosecute so we don’t have a precise measurement as we do with alcohol.”
Many Republican lawmakers are also still on the fence. Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh sent a statement saying “It’s disheartening to see that our governor is once again being driven by his own political ambition rather than policy that would best suit the people of New York State.”
Regardless, it still seems that there is enough support for recreational marijuana for it to be passed this year. It’s most likely going to be two to three years before you can walk into a store and buy a joint.
“I would say the next couple years,” Breslin said.
“I think you will see a multi-year implementation process,” Fahy said.