Cuomo pushes to legalize pot, sets to meet with other state governments

Updated: Feb. 23, 2020 at 11:05 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s set to travel to at least 3 states that have all legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It’s part of an effort to figure out how to pass similar legislation in New York’s budget this year.

“I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado,” said Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo says in the coming months he will bring his team to meet with other states and talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t worked with legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

“Everybody has a plan, but can you actually get in done and does it turn out the way you planned it, right? That’s the big question. And that’s where government usually gets into trouble. So I want to make sure we learn from them," said Cuomo.

Eleven states have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

And nine of those states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) allow adults to purchase pot from a dispensary.

Currently, marijuana possession is decriminalized in New York, meaning you may not get charged with a crime if you have it, but instead a violation.

In the pursuit to legalize, Cuomo says he plans to work with neighboring states, like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. All of which have either already legalized the drug or are trying to. Cuomo says it’s in order to minimize competition.

“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?” said Cuomo.

Cuomo also stresses legalizing marijuana is a top priority for this budget season.

He says he hopes to pass the bill as part of the budget, due April 1, 2020, than as it’s own legislation.

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