Monday, while addressing budget issues, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he isn’t sure if legislation to legalize marijuana in New York will be included in this year’s budget.
Marijuana legalization was among the items the governor planned to get done in the first 100 days of his third term. The governor called for the legislation to be included in the budget — where the state often bundles together big or controversial bills.
But, speaking Monday, the governor says he isn’t sure if the bill will be included in the budget legislation, which is due by April 1.
The governor says there is a “wide divide” on the issues and he isn’t confident if they will be able to reach an agreement in time for approval.
If it’s not included in the budget, lawmakers would have until the end of the session in the summer to put together an independent bill for legalization or it won’t get done until 2020.
Governor Cuomo says he believes lawmakers will eventually reach an agreement, “but not in the next two weeks.”
“It’s the rate of progress. My advantage is I’ve been to this show before, I’ve seen this movie,” Cuomo said of the legislative process. “Some of my colleagues have not seen the movie. You are two weeks from doing the budget. You have a long lead time to actually get the bills printed and done. The rate of progress does not suggest that it’s going to happen.”
Cuomo says lawmakers are still working to shape the legislation based on feedback from a variety of organizations and officials, from police to PTAs.