ALBANY — What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Gov. Cuomo, who called pot a “gateway drug” just three years ago, is embarking on a multi-state marijuana tour as he pushes the legislature to approve legal weed.
The governor has made legalizing recreational pot a priority as part of the state’s budget process after efforts stalled last year.
But he doesn’t plan to inhale.
“The proposal is to bring a person with me who will be the official taster, who has a lot of experience in cannabis and different formats of cannabis and edibles versus smoking cannabis,” Cuomo said during a conference call with the media. “A real cannabis expert with years of experience so we have an informed decision as to the best cannabis.”
The governor then jokingly offered the job to a reporter on the call.
A total of 11 states have legalized adult-use recreational marijuana in recent years and New York seems poised to join the smoking circle.
Cuomo plans to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and either California or Colorado, states he says that have “different versions” of legalized recreational marijuana programs.
In each case, there were “postmortems” that “raise issues,” the governor said.
“Almost all across the board,” he said.
Efforts to legalize weed in the Empire State went up in smoke last year, as the Democratic-led legislature and the governor failed to reach an agreement on a measure.
A bill that would have allowed marijuana to be legally grown, sold and used for recreational purposes, was tweaked in the final days of the legislative session last June due to discrepancies over revenue, local opt-ins, and expungement of past pot arrests.
Cuomo, who has repeatedly said that including pot in the budget is the best way to get it passed, cited public safety and equity for communities impacted by decades of enforcement as outstanding issues he wants to study.
“I think there is a lot to learn here,” he said. “Let’s do it better than anyone else has done by actually learning. It’s not a phone call, it’s very complicated and there’s a lot of different dimensions to it.”
Powered by WPeMatico