With just two days to go in the current legislative session, New York state lawmakers are making a last-minute push to legalize marijuana.
The effort to legalize cannabis really kicked off this year, after Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his support for marijuana legalization in 2018 and introduced a proposal to legalize soon after. But despite Cuomo’s support and Democratic control of the state’s legislature, the proposal has struggled to get through — due to political concerns and disagreements about how the money from marijuana taxes should be used.
Cuomo’s office has met with staff members from the state Assembly and Senate in recent days, for the first time since the last legalization push broke down, Vivian Wang and Jesse McKinley reported in the New York Times.
According to the Times, some progressive legislators want to commit marijuana revenue to communities that have been most negatively impacted by the war on drugs. But Cuomo has resisted those proposals, instead favoring legislative language that would give the executive branch — and the governor — more control over what to do with cannabis revenue.
There is also discussion about how local governments will be able to opt out of, or in to, legalization. And a concerted anti-legalization campaign has scared some lawmakers away from the idea.