As New York lawmakers deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, it appears cannabis legalization is off the table for this session, according to a Times-Union report. During a coronavirus briefing yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the state would likely only be able to pass a “bare-bones” budget as it’s been the state hardest hit by the pandemic.
While Cuomo said during a press conference on Wednesday that he would like to include legalization in the budget, State Sen. Liz Krueger (D), the Senate sponsor of the legalization measure, said the “governor’s staff essentially took marijuana off the table weeks ago.”
“While it is important that we end marijuana prohibition as soon as possible, it is also important that it be done the right way. If that cannot be achieved in the midst of a public health crisis, then we will all be better off waiting. There is no reason we cannot negotiate and pass a nation-leading legalization model when the crisis is over.” – Krueger to the Times-Union
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D) told Spectrum News on Thursday that cannabis legalization – and other bills that would positively impact disenfranchised communities – should be passed during the session because the state faces a probable recession as it uses its resources to combat the public health crisis associated with the coronavirus.
Last week, the cannabis bill was amended to include the personal cultivation of up to six plants. According to Peoples-Stokes, staffers and legislative leaders are still holding meetings to determine what should be included in the state’s ‘bare bones’ budget.