Governor Cuomo sheds doubt on marijuana legalization

Posted at 4:24 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 22:33:59-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — Speaking with Evan Dawson from radio station WXXI in Rochester Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo shed doubt on the legalization of marijuana in New York State.

Dawson reminded Cuomo back in 2011 there weren't many votes in the legislature for same sex marriage, but the governor used his "political capital" to legalize same sex marriage. Dawson then asked if Cuomo would do the same for marijuana legalization.

Cuomo responded to Dawson's question by saying that signs point that the legislature and senate are having trouble getting the votes to legalize marijuana now stating "we need the Governor to come in to make this happen." He said that is a sign they don't have the political support and that is a problem.

Majority Leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, is still optimistic that the bill will pass by the end of the session on June 19, "I can tell you that I’m still having ongoing conversations with my colleagues, in the state assembly and we’re working feverishly to get the votes we need to pass this before the end of June," Peoples-Stokes said. “The governor has one of two things to do. Sign it or veto. I fully expect once we pass it that he will concur with it.”

You can read a full transcript of the question below.

Evan Dawson: When it comes to what happened in the legislature with same sex marriage, for a while it looked like, back in 2011, there weren't the votes. And you really worked hard to sort of use your political capital to help get that done. And some of the advocates for legal marijuana are wondering will you do the same? Is that going to happen this year? What do you think is going to happen, what do you want to see happen with marijuana?

Governor Cuomo: It makes me nervous that they're saying that because they told me they had the votes and they were going to pass it. The legislative leaders said they didn't want to pass it in what's called the budget, which we do in April, because the legislature's point is always let's separate out policy matters and pass them separate. I fought to keep marijuana in the budget because I'm a little dubious about the legislature taking votes on difficult issues where they don't want to decide outside of the budget. But they're now saying "well we need the governor to weigh in." That's a bad sign, Evan, legislatively. That means they're having trouble getting the votes. And that's a different situation that they had said here before. The Senate said they supported it. And the Senate they had the votes. When they now say "we need the Governor to come in to make this happen" that's a different tune they're now singing, right? So that has me troubled because they never said that to me. They always told me that they had the votes and it was just a more complicated piece of legislation, which it is by the way. It has to be done right if it's done. But, that's a signal that they don't have the political support and that's a problem.