New York City

Andre Benz

New York May Delay Legalization Over Budget Woes

Despite significant support for cannabis legalization in New York, lawmakers are having a difficult time negotiating funds for establishing the program.

Full story after the jump.

Despite a push from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), New York lawmakers are struggling to agree on a cannabis legalization plan for the state and may end up delaying until another year, according to The Daily Star.

Cuomo still has hope, however, for legalization to be structured and funded by the state budget deadline of March 31, though other lawmakers are not optimistic.

Complications began when Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) said he was in no rush to approve the proposal. “I want to get it right, rather than beat a ‘time clock,'” said Heastie.

Other New York officials have suggested that legalization would require police to hire more drug recognition experts. Other issues include a lack of intoxicated driving detection methods for cannabis and no clear way forward on the proposed expungement of previous cannabis crimes.

While Cuomo said, “I’m not ready to give up yet,” the budget proposal recently submitted by the governor’s office does not include funding for the stated needs of many lawmakers.

The clock is ticking. Cuomo had promised that cannabis legalization would be a priority for his ninth year of governorship. If the program is not approved by April 1, the next deadline that might work would be in June. Every time the program is pushed to the next deadline, however, the launch of regulated cannabis sales is also pushed further back.

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