For more states, the issue of marijuana legalization was resolved at the polls in November or set aside. For New York state, the issue seemed to heat up with the visit to the polls and has been going strong ever since.
In a statement released Dec. 20, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio shared his support of changes to the legislation in New York related to marijuana possession and use. Mayor de Blasio noted that the time is here to change the way the issue was addressed in the past, and that includes clearing the charges against people who have a record for marijuana possession.
The announcement is a progression from Dec. 19’s release of a report by the Mayor’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization, titled “A Fair Approach to Marijuana.” The report advises legalization as the appropriate course and outlines an intense framework for the regulation and licensing of the industry. Another aspect of the report is the advisement that people who have low-level possession charges should have their records expunged.
Mayor de Blasio also supports the idea of highlighting small businesses through marijuana legalization and giving back to minority communities, where people were victimized by the laws and suffered more than others in regard to possession convictions.
Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared a goal to make legalizing marijuana part of his agenda for the first 100 days of his new term. Cuomo also noted that minority communities have historically suffered as a result of marijuana prohibition. In addition to fighting to right those wrongs, Cuomo noted that now is the time to address the stigma against marijuana in hopes that it can be stomped out.
Meanwhile, Cuomo made a statement towards the end of the week that legalization for New York state has become a false choice, and the reality is that the time is now simply because neighbouring states are making the move. New York residents will either travel to Massachusetts or New Jersey to purchase marijuana and use it in New York or purchase through a legalized industry in New York and allow the revenue to benefit the state in which they live.