The virus pandemic affected numerous businesses and economies around the globe. New York remains one of the badly-hit economies, with the state being the epicenter of the virus pandemic in the United States. Following this, New York is reportedly planning to legalize marijuana in April 2021 to help the economy recover.
The decision to legalize the drug comes as the state tries to recover the $6 billion gap in its budget which the state already had prior to the pandemic. The legalization of the drug in New York is projected to bring in at least $300 million in tax revenues per year, with billions more on the table once the program is stable.
The pressure also comes as neighboring states and counties have started to legalize the drug, including the likes of Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, notes WGRZ. New Jersey and Connecticut are also looking to do the same.
Democratic governor of New York Andrew Cuomo shared his sentiments at a virtual event last week. In a recording obtained by the USA Today Network, Cuomo said that their state is going to legalize marijuana soon “because now we need the money.”
Cuomo continued to say, “I’ve tried to get it done the last couple of years. There are a lot of reasons to get it done, but one of the benefits is it also brings in revenue, and all states – but especially this state – we need revenue and we’re going to be searching the cupboards for revenue. And I think that is going to put marijuana over the top.”
The response was made to Andy Cohen, Bravo television personality and producer when the former asked when New York is slated to legalize marijuana.
This recording is backed with yet another statement by Cuomo’s top marijuana adviser Axel Bernabe to David Culver from Canopy Growth Corp. According to the Hudson Valley Post, Bernabe said that Cuomo will reintroduce a cannabis bill on January 1, 2020, seeking to legalize marijuana in New York.
Bernabe told Culver, “We’re working on this. We’re going to reintroduce this in our budget in January. We think we can get it done by April 1. We are really focused on a compressive bill. We are really proud of that bill.”
Following this, the introduction of the bill will be included in the state budget by January 2021. This follows that the bill is expected to pass by April of the same year.
Earlier this year, the governor maintained that it is the duty of the federal government to provide the people, as well as state and local governments, with funding and aid during this pandemic. However, Marijuana Moment reports that the legalization of the drug can help the state recover from the health crisis.
Despite continued efforts and push from the governor, with Cuomo including legalization with his last two budget proposals, Marijuana Moment states that it failed to reach a decision. This stemmed from the governor’s office and the legislature battling over the probable allocation of cannabis tax revenue, rather than deciding whether or not to proceed with the bill.