New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during his Wednesday night State of the State address pledged to legalize marijuana in New York by the end of this year.
Cuomo had said legalization was a priority in his agenda in 2019, but a push for legalization failed to pass in the state legislature before the end of the legislative session.
“For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws,” Cuomo said in his address, according to The New York Times. “Let’s legalize adult use of marijuana.”
Cuomo’s pledge for legalization comes as the state faces a $6 billion budget gap, the Times notes.
The governor reportedly said that legalized marijuana could bring in $300 million annually in tax revenue, and billions more in economic activity once a program is fully implemented. However, that could take years to come to fruition.
Eleven states have legalized marijuana use, including the east coast states of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.
In his address Cuomo reportedly said that he hopes to work with Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to create and coordinate a system for legalizing adult use of marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana had been a campaign promise and priority for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) last year. The push also failed in the New Jersey state legislature in 2019.
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