Gov. Cuomo proposes legalizing recreational marijuana in New York as part of 2019 agenda

Monday, December 17, 2018
Gov. Cuomo proposes legalizing recreational marijuana in New York as part of 2019 agenda
Dave Evans has the latest on Governor Cuomo's plans to legalize marijuana in New York in 2019.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York Governor Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana early next year.

"Let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all," he declared.

He made the announcement as he laid out the upcoming legislative agenda for the first 100 days of 2019 at the New York City Bar Association on Monday.

New York would join 10 other states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer estimated the move could bring in $1.3 billion in annual tax revenue at the state and local level, including about $336 million for the city alone.

Earlier, Cuomo said on a radio show that he's laying out his new progressive agenda in such a public way, in part, to push back on the Trump administration.

"This is a much different year given the assault of the federal government," Governor Cuomo said. "There's no doubt that New York has to stand up for itself and we have to fight Washington and we have to protect ourselves and we need state laws that do that."

Just last year he called it a gateway drug.

But polls show people favor legalizing it and now with Democratic majorities in the legislature it's more likely to pass.

During the 45-minute speech heavy on references to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fellow Democrat and former New York governor, Cuomo touted the state's progressive accomplishments while vowing to continue to fight Trump administration policies he says are detrimental to New Yorkers.

With a Democrat-controlled Senate to be seated along with the already Democrat-led Assembly when the Legislature reconvenes next month, Cuomo is optimistic about moving forward with what he referred to as his "justice agenda." Other top priorities include strengthening the state's gun control laws, protecting affordable health care, codifying reproductive rights and boosting the state's spending on infrastructure to $150 billion.

"Now is the time to make these changes," Cuomo said. "There are no more excuses."

The governor also will seek to restructure the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, operator of the New York metro area's subways, buses and commuter trains. In order to raise much-needed revenues for the cash-strapped agency, Cuomo said he'll again push for congestion pricing that would place tolls on vehicles entering the busiest parts of Manhattan.

His speech brought vows of support from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and incoming Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, both Democrats.

Cuomo, a potential candidate for president in 2020, won election to a third term last month, easily defeating Republican challenger Marc Molinaro. During his speech, the son of former Mario Cuomo - also a three-term New York governor - reinforced his criticism of President Donald Trump's Republican policies, including the federal government's cap on state and local tax deductions. The governor has called the cap an "economic missile" aimed at New York and other high-tax states.

With Cuomo's third inauguration is set for Jan. 1 on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, the governor's annual State of the State address, typically delivered before a joint session of the Legislature in early January, will be combined with his state budget presentation to lawmakers later next month.


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