On Monday, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told reporters that a study commissioned in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will recommend legalizing adult-use cannabis, the New York Times reports. The study, though not finalized, was informed by “experts from all across the government.” The report is expected to be fully released soon, though it has been teased for weeks by the governor’s office.
Until recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been against the legalization of cannabis. Competitors in the gubernatorial election have seized on this policy to attempt to leverage voters against the Governor, though the cannabis issue is largely supported by voters. The Governor’s office on Monday did not offer much comment beyond that they would review the report when it was released.
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons. We have new facts.”— Dr. Howard Zucker, in the report
Gov. Cuomo’s opponent for the Democratic primaries, Cynthia Nixon, has used cannabis legalization as a cornerstone of her campaign platform. Nixon claims that New York must go further than just legalizing and must also expunge the records of previous cannabis offenders — especially for minorities, who have been disproportionately charged affected by prohibition.
This report is only the first step on New York‘s road to legalization. The legislative session is ending for the year on Wednesday and state lawmakers are unlikely to act fast enough to advance the legalization issue, so it will have to be taken up next year at the earliest.