The “pressure will be on” to legalize marijuana in New York and lawmakers will approve it “this year” to offset economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Thursday. And since voters in neighboring New Jersey approved a cannabis legalization referendum on Tuesday, that pressure is even more intense.
Though it’s unclear whether he was speaking prospectively about the 2021 legislative session or signaling that the policy change could be enacted in a special session before the end of 2020, the governor said, “I think this year it is ripe because the state is going to be desperate for funding” amid the health crisis. Legalization represents a potential source of revenue, he argued.
“I’ve supported it for years. The question becomes about the money—about the distribution and the power,” he said during the interview with WAMC radio. “What does it always come back down to? Money and power. Who gets the licenses and who gets the money. I think we get there this year.”