Legalizing marijuana in New York: Why supporters hope it happens this week

by Joseph Spector
March 26, 2019

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature are in crunch time over whether they can strike a deal to legalize recreational marijuana as part of the state budget due Sunday.

And advocates are pressing state leaders to reach an agreement after Cuomo and legislative leaders had pledged support for making pot sales and use legal in New York.

“A failure to legalize marijuana when Democrats control all branches of NY state government is a failure of leadership,” Kassandra Frederique, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-marijuana group, said in a statement.
Cuomo pledged in his State of the State address in January to include legalized pot in his budget proposal in an effort to make New York the 11th state to allow for recreational sales.

While Democrats who control the state Legislature have largely supported the measure, it has faced obstacles because of the complexity of the issue and concerns from local governments, police and schools over the impact it could have in their communities.

Several county executives, including those on Long Island and in Rockland and Putnam, have already said they would recommend opting out of allowing sales there.

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