Enacting legislation to permit and regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults is among the Cuomo administration’s top 2019 legislative priorities, New York’s Governor announced on Monday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We must … end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all.” His comments reaffirm those of a Cuomo spokesperson in November, who said, “The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult use marijuana.”
Days later, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio also publicly endorsed legalization, stating: “Our mission is clear: We want New York to be the fairest big city in America. If we get legalization right, marijuana can be an important new part of the solution.” A newly-released city task force report estimates that retail sales in New York City could total some $1.7 billion per year.
In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor’s office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: “A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. … Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. … The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”