Will 2021 be the year marijuana legalization finally breaks through?
Recreational pot has had the support of both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the majority Democratic Party in the Legislature for two years. But a deal has yet to be reached, with talks called off by the pandemic response last year.
Cuomo now says the time is “ripe” for legalization, citing the state’s budget crisis and a vote in New Jersey that will put legal pot a PATH ride away for New Yorkers.
“The fact that other states are passing us by is an incentive for New York to get it done,” said state Sen. Liz Krueger, an Upper East Side lawmaker who has sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act every year since 2013.
“But that is not a reason to get it done the wrong way,” Krueger added.
With the legislative session starting Wednesday, there are still pressure points where varying interests need to find common ground.
Last year Cuomo’s budget office projected legal recreational marijuana could eventually deliver $300 million in local and state tax revenues—although it will take several years to reach that level.
The governor’s preference is for that money to be flexible