New York Governor Cuomo Leaves Marijuana Legalization Out Of State Budget

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Governor Cuomo confirmed that marijuana legalization will not be included in the state budget, which must be passed by April 1. This means that for Governor Cuomo to follow through on his promises to legalize marijuana, it must instead get passed into law via stand-alone legislation in the coming months.

Statement from Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director:

“We believe that New Yorkers deserve more than unmet promises and empty rhetoric around marijuana reform. Each day marijuana legalization is not passed, someone is arrested, deported, evicted or loses custody of a child because of criminalization. Each day that New York’s leaders maintain prohibition, someone can’t pass a background check, has their parole revoked, or loses a job.

“It is past time for the NY legislature to pass the Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act. It is also time for Governor Cuomo to keep his commitment to marijuana reform, and the justice that he has promised. The clock for passing marijuana justice starts now.”

On Wednesday, DPA and 200-plus members of the Start SMART NY coalition from across the state held a 3-hour rally at the State Legislature in Albany. DPA and unlikely allies stood together to call for legalization in the budget as part of a rally outside Governor Cuomo’s office, which was featured on the front page of the Albany Times-Union.

Yesterday, the New York City Council approved resolutions in support of DPA’s model for equitable marijuana legalization rooted in economic and racial justice.

Earlier today, CBS News provided analysis on the battle for legalized marijuana in New York State. Watch it here.

DPA’s Kassandra Frederique also published an op-ed this week in Crain’s New York Business that underscores the urgency of the fight for marijuana justice.

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