Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that legalizing marijuana will help boost the economy and aid in the recovery effort from the state’s multi-billion-dollar budget deficit caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Governor announced that he will “soon” legalize marijuana during a virtual event last week to promote his new book, American Crisis, which is about the state’s COVID-19 response.
“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,” said Cuomo in a podcast, to air in coming weeks by Sixth & I, which hosted the book signing event. “And I think that is going to put marijuana over the top.”
Cuomo signed a bill last year that will reduce the punishment for unlawful possession of the drug, remove criminal penalties for those found with less than two ounces of marijuana, and begin the process of clearing past convictions for small amounts of marijuana.
A bill legalizing marijuana failed to pass the state legislature twice due to lawmakers squabbles over the dispersion of revenue and whether counties could opt out. [Read more at Staten Island Advance]