After a failed attempt to legalize recreational cannabis in New York last year, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he plans to try again in 2020 and is going to visit other states with legal pot to learn how it’s done.
“I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois, and California or Colorado,” said Cuomo.
The governor wants to include provisions to legalize marijuana for use by adults in budget legislation again this year. In an effort to learn what has and what hasn’t worked in other jurisdictions, Cuomo said that he and members of his team would be paying a visit to three pot-legal states.
“Everybody has a plan, but can you actually get it done and does it turn out the way you planned it, right? That’s the big question,” the governor said. “And that’s where government usually gets into trouble. So I want to make sure we learn from them.”
Cuomo has said that he wants the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults to be a priority of this year’s budget negotiations, rather than passing a separate bill. To do that, the legislature will have to come to an agreement on the conditions of cannabis legalization and include them in a budget bill, which Cuomo hopes to see passed by April 1.
“Everybody has goals, we want a goal of social equity, we want to make sure young people can’t get it, etc. We want to make sure there are advantages to communities that have been oppressed. But, then you look at the aftermath and many of those goals haven’t been met, right?” Cuomo said.
Team Will Include Official Pot Taster
While Cuomo is touring states with legal pot, he won’t only be investigating pot policy. Although he says he won’t be imbibing himself, a member of the team will also be experiencing the quality of legal weed.
“The proposal is to bring a person with me who will be the official taster, who has a lot of experience in cannabis and different formats of cannabis and edibles versus smoking cannabis,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. “A real cannabis expert with years of experience so we have an informed decision as to the best cannabis.”
Cuomo also attempted to make the legalization of cannabis a priority for his administration last year, but the effort failed over disagreements about social equity provisions to address the harm caused by the War on Drugs. Instead, the legislature passed and Cuomo signed a bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot.
“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said at the time.