In January, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY), presented his plan to legalize recreational cannabis, which failed due to lack of support. New York lawmakers are back to introduce another bill in hopes that it stands a better chance of being approved.
According to Karen DeWitt of WAMC radio, Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan, a long time advocator for cannabis legalization, spoke about how the new bill incorporates many of Gov. Cuomo’s ideas and points brought up by the legislature during a budget talk.
“We’ve attempted to take all of the negotiated agreements that took place during budget negotiations and expand our bill,” said Krueger.
The bill discusses the creation of a single government entity to manage and regulate all cannabis-related product from hemp as well as CBD products, which are currently sold all over but aren’t regulated.
Buffalo, NY Democrat and the Assembly sponsor, Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes spoke about her efforts to help amend the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Along with that, she discusses the different measures aimed towards social equity, stating that “a certain percentage of it will go towards communities that have been negatively impacted by mass incarceration.”
Additionally, the bill will provide a small percentage of implementation of public health benefits as well as research, drug prevention, and treatment. The expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program has plans to be added to the new version of the bill. With this change, lawmakers are looking to eliminate the list of specific diseases that allow a person to receive access to medical cannabis. They believe that doctors should have the ability to decide whether or not their patients require the plant to aid them with their illness.
According to WAMC Radio, the Senate does not have enough votes to pass the bill. Senator Krueger is hoping that the Assembly gives their approval first, and is looking to Governor Andrew Cuomo for more support in order to sway voters.
During an interview with Evan Dawson on WXXI public radio, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that he completely supports the bill. However, he goes on to say “if they are starting to suggest that I need to twist arms, then that’s a bad sign. Because arm twisting doesn’t work. And it means they don’t have the political support.”