What are the plans for legalizing recreational marijuana in New York for 2021?

Posted at 5:32 AM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 06:16:17-05

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tuesday is a big day for lawmakers in Albany.

We're expecting to learn what Gov. Cuomo has in mind for how the state will spend your tax dollars in the upcoming fiscal year.

One of the hottest topics he's expected to include, once again, is legalizing recreational marijuana.

This raises some questions, including:

  • What would it look like?
  • What are the concerns your local lawmakers have about the push?

In a Siena College Poll released early Tuesday morning, marijuana legalization received its highest approval rating yet with 58% supporting the approval and 38% against. According to the poll, this is the highest ever.

Gov. Cuomo had hoped to include marijuana legalization in the budget in 2019, but it didn't make the cut.

For this year's proposal, many New York state lawmakers seem more optimistic that the legalization will happen.

During his State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo said he is working with states neighboring New York to find a fair system of legalization.

This combines with the appointment of a cannabis czar and proposal of a cannabis research center, and Gov. Cuomo is investing plenty into the legalization efforts.

According to some of our state representatives even if marijuana passes through the budget, we wouldn't see any immediate effects.

"Once we legalize adult use it would take I would say at least 18 months before there's a regulatory process in place or identify what potential revenues could be, and what their uses could be," said State Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo). "Right now there are states that are surrounding New York and the entire country of Canada that have legalized marijuana so it's time New York State catch up, do the right thing."

The budget deadline is April 1st and marijuana has already been decriminalized.

The hope from Gov. Cuomo's office is that legalizing marijuana will help close the $6 billion budget gap.

We will get the chance to see the governor's entire budget later on Tuesday to see exactly what the plan will be for legalization.