The legalization of recreational cannabis in New York has suffered a major roadblock as it has been omitted from New York’s 2020 state budget, which implies that the policy shift is now a little difficult to execute.
Despite constant pushing from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, disagreements have popped up on how exactly the legalization should be carried out in the state. As a result, cannabis revenues will not feature in the upcoming bill; and in the absence of a cannabis budget, getting a legalization bill passed will surely be an uphill task.
“When it’s not done in the budget, then it is, in my opinion, harder to do as a standalone bill because it’s now just marijuana with a capital ‘M,'” Cuomo was quoted as saying to a local radio.
Cuomo was presumably referring to a comment made by NY Senator Diane Savino (D), suggesting that Republican Lawmakers wouldn’t like to support a bill that isn’t covered in the budget.
“We have a lot of members who represent conservative areas who don’t think they can vote for a freestanding bill to legalize marijuana,” Savino said.
Despite the obstacle, Cuomo is confident that the legalization can still move forward at a reasonable pace and “might get done this year.”
As of now, the governor hasn’t made any announcement as to how he plans to proceed with the legalization after the setback. However, a party spokesperson said that they were prepared for the delay and are presently working with the state legislators.
“I said from day one that the marijuana issue was going to be controversial,” Cuomo acknowledged.
Notably, a number of counties in New York have already announced preemptive plans to ban marijuana sales. When confronted with this question, Cuomo said that this move will only cost those municipalities, localities that opt out because then they would not get the local share of the revenues.