NY Legalization Failure – 2020/2021 Budget

While I am not surprised, I am still extremely disappointed with the fact that the cannabis legalization provisions have been removed from this year’s NYS budget, as reported by Marijuana Moment.

Cuomo started the year by again renewing calls to legalize cannabis and included it in his budget proposal. While he did the same thing last year, repeating it did demonstrate some level of commitment to the cause. Cuomo also mentioned that he was going to visit legal states to see how their programs function and to take that knowledge and create a “better” program in NY.

However, the outbreak of the Coronavirus has seriously impacted the state’s ability to implement this measure due to a shift in priorities. Cuomo’s tour has been cancelled due to the outbreak. While this was expected after the outbreak, Cuomo still could have spoken to leaders remotely.

There was some shining light that Cuomo seemed committed to the original budget even during the crisis, still commenting on legalization in press conferences amid the Coronavirus outbreak. While it is just comments, it is far more than we received last year around this time when Cuomo was saying it was over.

With the failure of legalization in the budget, the remaining option is for the MRTA to pass as a separate bill. However, with lawmakers dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak and being unable to meet in person, I won’t be holding my breath. They have had 3 years to work out these issues and pass the bill; waiting until the last minute just shows it is not a priority and countless New Yorkers will continue to suffer by being arrested and mistreated by police.

Maybe next year NYS will be “ultra-super” serious about legalization and try again for it to be in the budget.