Cuomo: Legalize Recreational Marijuana in NY in 2019


Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New York State lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use next year.

The plan is aimed at ending the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana, the governor said.

“Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana, once and for all,” Cuomo said during a speech in Manhattan outlining his 2019 agenda, noting that is would “end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma.” 

If the proposal passes the state legislature, New York would become the 10th state nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to legalize smoking recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

The proposal comes as Democrats are about to take control of the state Senate, removing Republicans from potentially blocking such a bill. The Democrat-led state Assembly is likely to follow suit. 

Legalizing marijuana was one of 20 proposals in what Cuomo billed as his 2019 Justice Agenda that will kick off his third term. Other proposals include codifying abortion rights, making New York’s electricity 100 percent carbon neutral by 2040, and new gun control measures such as extending the waiting period to buy a gun from three to 10 days.

Details of neither the marijuana nor the other proposals were immediately available.