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.

Cuomo On Marijuana Legalization in 2020: I mean it this time (?)

Today was the annual State of the State address by Governor Cuomo. During the address, Cuomo again vowed to legalize marijuana in 2020.

I’m pleased that he mentioned it and that it is still publicly a priority for him, however, as I discussed in 2 previous posts 2019 was not a successful year. I will remain very skeptical of this until I start to see actual progress on the issue.

The MRTA is still in both chambers or he could try to stick something in the budget again. I’m hoping that the $5.4 million in 2 day sales in IL will make it more attractive, as NY will most likely surpass that number based on population.

The couple things going against success will be the Long Island 6 who held out. Also, on the operational side, there are very few licensed medical dispensaries. In order to make it happen, there would need to be a a momentous shift to allow flower to be sold and expand retailers that could be licensed.

Here’s to hoping there is a positive outcome of the 2020 legalization session!

Failure of NY Legalization 2019 Part 2

As mentioned in my previous post, things are started to look good for NY legalizing cannabis in 2019. The CRTA, as proposed in the budget, did have positive qualities. It included several employment and hiring protections, as cannabis was not to be considered an illicit substance inside NY state. However, the CRTA did not contain home growing provisions or any social justice ones.

The CRTA faced criticism from NORML and other groups due to these issues. With the budget vote deadline coming close, the CRTA was ultimately dropped from the budget. All did not seem to be lost, however, as the MRTA was still pending in the Senate.

However, Cuomo really didn’t seem to want to support it. After the budget talks failed, Cuomo was very absent in legalization talks and barely mentioned it in press briefings.

I personally sent many emails, made phone calls, and even mailed physical letters to my state representatives showing my support. Some answered while others didn’t, but I still did as much as I could to let my representatives know my position.

In the final weeks of the legislative session, support in the Senate waned even with the Democrat majority. The lack of support came from Long Island senators.

While Illinois was able to pass a legalization measure through, NY failed. In-fighting, politics, and arguing where the tax revenues were to go were listed as the reasons for the failure. Disappointment was abound, even though the Senate majority leader stated she will continue her support for the MRTA.

With the FY2020 session starting soon, I will most certainly be watching this measure. With any luck, backroom negotiations would have occurred in the off months and we might be able to get support. If not, we can only hope to vote out those in opposition next November.