The cannabis legalization efforts seem to be ramping up as the State legislators introduce a new all-encompassing legalization bill.
New York’s cannabis legalization efforts have been a real roller coaster of emotions and decisions so far, and they’re not even close to legalizing it.
Just in the past six months, the governor announced that New York will be legalizing recreational marijuana and that he’d like to get it within the state budget by April, but then he retracted it in May, saying he was likely to miss the date.
A few days ago we found out that both New York and New Jersey’s legalization efforts were likely doomed to fail, only to find out today that another group of Democrats from New York were about to file another legalization bill.
A different approach
The new legalization bill is being spearheaded by the Democratic Manhattan Senator Liz Krueger.
Krueger has been a longtime proponent of legalizing marijuana and she believes that this bill has a good chance at moving from the lower house to the upper one, where she should be able to garner enough support for it.
Senator Krueger pointed out that she knows that the State Senate currently doesn’t have the votes to pass the bill, however, the New York State Assembly is a totally different story.
The majority leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes will be sponsoring the bill in the Assembly, and she’ll be the one to help send the bill to the State Senate, where Krueger and Cuomo should be able to help convince Senators who remain undecided.
“I can try to make the case that people who might have been scared away when it dropped out of the budget should come back to vote for it,” says Krueger.
The new law would help communities most harmed by the marijuana prohibition benefit from the plan in various ways, such as getting them involved with the industry and addressing past criminal convictions pertaining to cannabis.
Certain demographic groups have been hit by the War on Drugs so badly that even generations after that have felt it, such as the case of a Cuban pilot who was recently released after the longest-ever US cannabis-related jail term.
Expansion of the medical law
Krueger and Peoples-Stokes worked on adding parts of Cuomo’s bill to their own in order to make the best of both worlds. However, their bill wouldn’t just legalize recreational cannabis, but it would also significantly expand the laws pertaining to medical marijuana.
If this bill is passed, the State will have one regulatory body overseeing medical marijuana, hemp extracts, and adult-use cannabis. Growing cannabis at home will also be an option for all adult residents.
Money collected from taxing the cannabis industry will be directed towards helping police officers to enforce safe driving regulations, research, drug prevention, and addiction treatment, according to Peoples-Stokes.
If the amendments are accepted, doctors will have the rights to determine if a patient needs medical cannabis without having to adhere to one of the 17 specific qualifying conditions.
“It is my hope that this legislation will be approved by the Legislature, and there will not be a need to take up separate legislation that updates the medical marijuana program and regulates hemp/CBD,” said Peoples-Stokes.
The State of New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014 following a lengthy debate in the Senate. Since then the whole program was heavily restricted and monitored by State agencies.
The new additions to the medical laws would lower the bar for the people from endangered communities to enter the legal industry and boost the economy of the state.