New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo gives his 2018 State of the State address. Photo Credit: The Associate Press/Hans Pennink
ALBANY—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants New York to fund a study of the possible impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state, the Democratic governor said at his annual budget address on Tuesday afternoon.
The governor also proposed requiring companies that sell more than $100 million annually to collect sales taxes on items they sell and proposed imposing an “opioid epidemic surcharge” on prescription opioid medications. He also signaled that he would make an exception for a 2 percent spending cap for courts provided that judges certify they’ll keep courtrooms open until 5 p.m. to alleviate a backlog of cases.
“Marijuana—things are happening,” Cuomo said, proposing a study by the state Department of Health to determine the health and economic impacts of legalizing the drug, which is already legal for certain medical purposes in the state.
The proposed study would also determine the criminal justice impact and consequences to New York state from legalization occurring in neighboring states, according to the governor’s budget PowerPoint presentation.
Details on the study remain scarce, although the governor said the panel charged with conducting it would include representatives of state police to get the “facts” on marijuana legalization.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision earlier this month, however, to rescind Obama-era guidelines for relatively lenient enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized cannabis has cast a shadow over state laws legitimizing medical and recreational marijuana and the cannabis industry.
“New Jersey may legalize marijuana. Massachusetts already has. On the other hand, Attorney General Sessions says he’s going to end marijuana in every state. So you have the whole confluence of different information,” Cuomo said during his presentation to the Legislature. “I think we should fund [the