New York’s Governor Talks Future Of Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Cropped Paxson Woelber / The Alaska Landmine / CC BY 2.0

ALBANY – New York’s Governor this week discussed what the future of legalizing recreational marijuana, this after neighboring New Jersey approved a similar measure.

“New Jersey did it on the ballot, which, in retrospect, I think was probably, turned out to be the faster way to do it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during an interview on WAMC Radio’s The Roundtable with Alan Chartock.

Medical use of marijuana was already legal in the Garden State, but the legislature was unable to pass a bill to fully legalize cannabis.

Instead, state lawmakers decided to put the question directly to voters in the form of a referendum.

Under the ballot measure approved by voters, marijuana would be legal for personal use by adults 21 and older.

The commission that currently regulates the medical marijuana market in the state would also manage the recreational use market.

The Governor, who supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use, said he thinks the state will “get there” in 2021, called it the “right policy,” and said “the state is going to be desperate for funding.”

“The question becomes about the money, about the distribution, and the power… who gets the licenses and who gets the money,” he said.

Last year, New York decriminalized recreational marijuana but stopped short of legalizing, regulating and taxing it.

New York State enacted its medical marijuana program in 2014.

Arizona and South Dakota also voted to legalize recreational marijuana.


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