What to Know
- Gov. Cuomo appointed a panel to draft legislation to legalize marijuana in the state of New York
- According to Thursday's announcement, Cuomo looks for legislature to consider the bill in the upcoming session
- The proposed legislation will be based on the findings of a multi-agency study Cuomo commissioned in January
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed a panel to draft legislation to legalize marijuana in the state.
According to Thursday's announcement, Cuomo looks for legislature to consider the bill in the upcoming session. The proposed legislation will be based on the findings of a multi-agency study Cuomo commissioned in January, which was led by the Department of Health and concluded the positive impacts of regulated marijuana use in the state outweigh the negative impacts.
"As we work to implement the report's recommendations through legislation, we must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program, including its impact on public health, criminal justice and State revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it." said Cuomo in a statement. "I thank the members of the workgroup for their time and expertise as we work to craft a model program."
The workgroup will be overseen by Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David, who will work with the panel to provide them with information and support, while being a liaison who will coordinate among the Executive Branch and stakeholders.
The panel will be comprised of experts in public health, public safety and economic, as well as leaders of various state agencies.
According to the governor’s office, the workgroup will be responsible for engaging with the leadership of the State Senate and State Assembly as well as bill sponsors of medical and regulated marijuana legislation, advocates, and academic experts with experience from other states.
In January of 2018, Cuomo directed the DOH to conduct a study of a regulated marijuana program in the state to determine the health, economic and criminal justice impacts of a regulated market and the consequences marijuana legalization will have in the state of New York.
According to the DOH report, which was published on July 13, the positive impact of a regulated marijuana market in the state outweigh the potential negative aspects.
The report found that regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution and sale of marijuana if New York is allowed to control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions.
Additionally, the study found that a regulated program would reduce racial disparities in criminalization and incarceration rates. It also recommended sealing the criminal records of individuals with prior low-level marijuana-related offenses.
The announcement comes one day after Manhattan prosecutors officially stopped taking people to court for smoking pot in public or possessing small amounts of weed.
Manhattan joined Brooklyn in moving to a declined-prosecution model as the city moves toward decriminalizing low-level marijuana offenses and the state grapples with potential legalization.
Police officers in the city will shift to issuing criminal summonses for public marijuana smoking, instead of making arrests, starting Sept. 1.