New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has announced his support for marijuana legalization. “The facts have changed,” he said Thursday while explaining his decision to embrace full legalization.
Although Cuomo signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in 2014, and he has supported decriminalizing cannabis in the past, the governor has been reluctant to embrace legalization until this week, when Cynthia Nixon – his rival for the Democratic nomination in the 2018 gubernatorial race – announced her plan to repeal cannabis prohibition in New York.
Nixon – a former ‘Sex in the City’ star – championed legalization as a social-justice cause that would also create jobs and generate massive tax revenues in New York.
“There are a lot of good reasons for legalizing marijuana,” Nixon said in a video released by her campaign on Wednesday. “But for me it comes down to this: we have got to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity….In addition to ending a key front in the racist War on Drugs, regulating and taxing marijuana would generate hundreds of millions of tax dollars for our people and create important agricultural opportunities for our state.”
In contrast, Cuomo’s support of legalization wasn’t about justice or economics so much as accepting reality.
“It’s no longer a question of legal or illegal,” Cuomo told reporters. “It’s legal in Massachusetts. It may be legal in New Jersey. Which means for all intents and purposes it’s going to be here anyway.”
So it doesn’t seem that Cuomo has suddenly gained an enthusiasm for the cannabis industry as much as he believes its unstoppable movement at this point. And with him onside with legalization, there’s one less obstacle in the way of that movement.