New York Governor Vows Adult-Use Marijuana Will Be Legal In 2020

During his State of the State address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020 and proposed to create a cannabis and hemp research center.

The governor of New York has renewed his vow to legalize recreational marijuana.

During the New York State of the State address on Jan. 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) pledged to continue the path of social progress in New York. One agenda item Cuomo declared for 2020 was adult-use marijuana legalization.

Despite Cuomo’s efforts to pass legalization in the past, including forming a task force in 2018, New York lawmakers have yet to approve recreational marijuana legalization.

“For decades communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws. Last year we righted that injustice when we decriminalized possession. This year let’s work with our neighbors New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to coordinate a safe and fair system and let’s legalize adult use of marijuana,” Cuomo said during his address.

(55 minute mark)

According to a New York Times report, Cuomo said that the new adult-use marijuana program has the potential to bring in $300 million a year in tax revenue, on top of billions of dollars more in economic activity when fully up and running. This could make a significant impact on the state’s $6 billion budget gap.

Andrew Cuomo vows to legalize marijuana in 2020Adult-use marijuana legalization was one of many agenda items Cuomo proposed during the address and further outlined in his 2020 Making Progress Happen Highlights.

The plan outlined by Cuomo includes a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize marijuana. The process would incorporate a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the medical, recreational and hemp programs.

In addition, during the address, Cuomo proposed the creation of a global cannabis and hemp research center for science and education in collaboration with the State University of New York.

Highlights of Cuomo’s 2020 Marijuana Legalization Proposal

The key points of Cuomo’s proposal include:

  • Limit the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over
  • Manage social equity licensing opportunities
  • Develop an unrestricted adult-use market structure
  • Strict oversight for packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products

In July, Cuomo signed into law a bill to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. In addition, the law offers record expungement for residents with past low-level cannabis convictions.

A recent Sienna College Research Institute survey found that 56 percent of New York adults support recreational cannabis legalization.
New York marijuana 2020

Cannabis Reform in the Northeast

Cuomo announced last September he would be strategizing with neighboring states on how to move forward with recreational cannabis legalization. The states included in the efforts are New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

During a WNYC Public Radio interview at the time, Cuomo noted it would not make sense for states to have different cannabis policies.

While Cuomo mentioned moving forward with neighboring states in his address, Cuomo’s office later clarified that New York would not wait on other states to pursue its own plan.

Marijuana in the News

Learn more about current laws in New York by visiting our New York Marijuana Laws education page. Follow the progress of Cuomo’s cannabis proposed plans in the new year by visiting our cannabis policy page.

Learn more about the latest developments related to cannabis business and scientific research by checking back in at our cannabis news page.