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Why advocates aren't pleased with Cuomo's recreational marijuana proposal

Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 16:57:08-05

A group of lawmakers and others pushing for the legalization of recreational marijuana took issue with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s competing proposal on Thursday.

They have their concerns with how the sales tax revenue would be spent.

Cuomo said legalizing cannabis would raise $350 million, and $100 million would be used for a social equity fund. The group said that doesn’t go far enough in reinvesting in communities most impacted by marijuana offenses.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes is part of the group pushing to legalize cannabis. She said legalizing recreational marijuana shouldn’t just be a revenue boost for a state facing a 15 billion dollar deficit.

“It’s never been about that in my mind. It never has been and it never will be. It’s about a lot more than that. I don’t think he’s really serious about it. I think he’s only thinking about how he can get more resources in his general budget,” she said.

Finally, the group said Cuomo’s competing proposal doesn’t go far enough in decriminalizing marijuana related offenses. That’s why this group is pushing for the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, instead. It addresses many of the issues the group said Cuomo’s proposal lacks. That includes eliminating criminal penalties and expunging convictions for marijuana offenses.

“Clearly his tax proposals are all wrong. His social equity proposals are all wrong. And if they’re not fixed, we’ll be here next year trying to do the same thing,” said Peoples-Stokes.