New York did not become the 12th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this year. Illinois did officially become the 11th state to do so. New York Lawmakers tried to get enough support before the end of the legislative session but failed.
New York Officials still had hope for a last-minute effort to get the bill together even though the legislation was dropped from the budget in March. For a year, New York State has been attempting to legalize the plant but has failed. That failure is at least in part because the representatives in the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate cannot agree with one another. All hope is lost for this year, but 2020 is a different story.
“This is not the end of the road, it is only a delay,” said Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) in a statement. “Unfortunately, the delay means countless more New Yorkers will have their lives upended by unnecessary and racially disparate enforcement before we inevitably legalize.”
What are they going to do now?
To make up for this failure, the legislature deployed their backup bill, which expands on the decriminalization of possession of marijuana for up to two (2) ounces. (Read more here). Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo expressed that he completely supports the bill and is planning on signing it soon. He stated:
“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long and it has to end,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “This legislative proposal is not new. I first proposed this decriminalization measure in 2013, and again in this year’s budget. The time to act is now.”
The Public Support
According to a Siena Research Institute poll, the majority of voters in New York support legalizing marijuana 55-40 percent. The support is split between party lines. Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana is strongly supported by Democrats at about 61%. On the other hand, some Republicans are opposing it at about 55%. Age wise, voters under 35 support it 75% – 23% percent, while voters 55 and older opposed it. It is understandable the older generation views marijuana in a negative sense.
In January, Quinnipiac University released a poll that showed that a majority of New Yorkers supported legalizing marijuana, as well as erasing past criminal convictions involving the plant. About two out of every three New York State voters are for the legalization of marijuana that’s around 57% to 37%.
Of course with a big city like New York, there are some safety concerns including the possibility of an increase in car accidents. Overall, New Yorkers support the movement of legalizing marijuana. The only people who have to get it together are the ones in the big house.