Governor Cuomo pushes for marijuana legalization

Local News

ALBANY, NY – Governor Cuomo has made a push again this year for lawmakers to include recreational marijuana legalization and regulation in the state budget.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca explains where the issue stands.

Under the Governor’s recent executive budget proposal, enacting the ‘Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act’ would generate an estimated 20 million dollars in revenue for the state in licensing fees in fiscal year 2021 and 63 million dollars in fiscal year 2022.

((Andrew Cuomo, Governor))
I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year.

I believe the budget is the opportunity frankly to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues.

Meanwhile, this year, Senator Liz Krueger has amended her ‘Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act’ bill.

It includes more money for law enforcement to train officers to recognize DUI.

And, it provides more funds for school districts to address ‘risky behavior’ like vaping.

Senator Pete Harckham who chairs the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse is throwing his support behind Krueger’s bill.

((Pete Harckham, NYS Senator))
the big component is 25% of the revenue targeted towards substance use disorder treatment, prevention, education. And, that’s the big difference between the Krueger bill and the Governor’s bill.

Opponents of the legalization effort have noted the lack of a standardized test for impairment, and fears that it could create a new ‘predatory for profit industry’ in the state.

Senator Harckham says if legalization passes it will still take a while for the revenue to build up.

((Pete Harckham, NYS Senator))
It’s going to take many many years to ramp up because the first stage is the licensees.

Then you have to have the growers. And, you have to build out the supply network.

Krueger’s bill has not yet been conferenced.

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