New York Lawmakers Want Weed Legalized to Help With COVID-19
New York State lawmakers are pushing for marijuana to be legalized to help the state deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In January, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised New Yorkers legal marijuana is coming real soon. He pledged in his State of the State Address to legalize marijuana in New York State by the end of 2020 to help the state deal with a $6 billion budget gap.
Cuomo previously said legalizing marijuana could bring $300 million in tax revenue to the state every year and billions more once the program is fully running.
In February, according to the governor's office, Cuomo hoped to see marijuana legalized in New York for adult use by April, which is when the state budget had to be approved. At the time, he announced plans to travel to Massachusetts, Illinois, Colorado and California to see what has worked in those states that legalized weed and what hasn't worked in hopes of getting it right in New York.
In early April, just before the budget was approved, he said it wasn't likely that marijuana would be legalized in 2020. He said legalizing the drug was one of the most complicated issues he has faced and he didn't have the time to work on legalizing marijuana as he dealt with the outbreak of COVID-19.
On Thursday, New York State Senators Jamaal Bailey, Brad Hoylman and Jessica Ramos along with Legal Aid Society called on Cuomo to legalize marijuana to help the state dealt with its budget gap.
"As the state reaches for new sources of revenue to help rebuild, it must also acknowledge how the pandemic has compounded the long-standing disparate effects of economic deprivation on communities of color, and how that deprivation has been exacerbated by marijuana prohibition. We urgently need marijuana legalization rooted in racial and economic justice," the group said in a press release.
Last week, Cuomo due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York needs $61 billion from the federal government to avoid massive budget cuts to education, schools, police, fire departments and more.
The state of Oregon made a record-breaking $89 million in marijuana sales in April, which marked the second-straight month Oregon record marijuana sales, according to KGW8.