New York Governor Calls for Feasibility Study to Examine Legalizing Marijuana

New York Governor Calls for Feasibility Study to Examine Legalizing Marijuana

Flickr / New York National Guard / CC BY-ND 2.0

Could New York become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana? On Jan. 16, 2018, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his proposed FY 2019 state budget, which includes funding for the creation of a feasibility study aimed at understanding the social, health, and criminal justice impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.

Lead by the state Department of Health, the feasibility study would coordinate with other state agencies to examine the issue, including the state police.

Cuomo’s request comes at a time when many of New York’s neighbors have already passed or are currently considering marijuana reform. Most recently, the state of Vermont passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana and similar talks of reform are being floated in New Jersey, which has sworn in a governor that is in favor of legalizing marijuana.

While Cuomo hasn’t been the most ardent opponent of marijuana reform, he hasn’t been a fervent supporter either. Back in Feb. 2017, Cuomo told Politico that he believed marijuana to be a gateway drug, although he did acknowledge that there are two sides to the argument.

Speaking with the Democrat & Chronicle, Robert Mujica, Cuomo’s budget director, said that he was unsure how long the study would take.

“I don’t know how long it will take,” Mujica said. “We just announced it. But again, once the states around you start to regulate an activity or allow it, there is leakage, there are criminal justice impacts, there are economic impacts, and so we want to see what goes on.”

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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