New York Session Ends Without Legalization Deal

The last-minute efforts to legalize or decriminalize adult-use cannabis in New York before the legislature adjourns for the year have failed; lawmakers will have to pursue the issue again next year.

Full story after the jump.

New York lawmakers failed to pass any cannabis legislation before the session adjourned on Wednesday night, including their “plan B” – broad decriminalization for possession by adults, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports.

“I was asked earlier this week on a radio show if I would settle for decriminalization as a backup, and I said I keep fighting and only ‘tend to give up on hour 20 when there’s four hours left in the session.’ We have now reached ‘hour 20.’ – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to the Daily Enterprise

The bill was met with strong resistance by the New York State Sheriff’s Association, the New York State Parents Teachers Association, a statewide physicians lobby, drug treatment advocates, and Smart Approaches to Marijuana – the latter of which spent $10,000 on anti-cannabis billboards in the state and $14,500 on anti-legalization lobbying efforts during the session.

The decriminalization bills introduced at the 11th hour would have allowed criminal records for low-level cannabis-related crimes to be expunged, but lawmakers also failed to pass that bill. Another measure to expand the state’s medical cannabis and hemp programs were never brought to the floor for a vote.

Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the Democratically-controlled legislature had come “close to crossing the finish line” but “ran out of time.”

“I have no doubt that prohibition is an outdated and irrational policy, and its days are numbered,” she said to the Daily Enterprise.

The bill’s failure to pass was the result of disagreements by lawmakers regarding local control and how the revenues derived from the industry would be spent. The state’s session reconvenes in January.

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