Legal weed may soon be a thing in New York, in part because all the state’s friends are doing it.
Recreational cannabis is now on the books in Maine and Massachusetts, and New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont are expected to join in the coming year. Last fall, a Gallup poll showed that a record-high 64 percent of Americans favor legalization of recreational marijuana. And on Monday, the Daily News reported that Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra floated a plan to legalize weed and use the tax revenue generated from it to pay for key subway improvements.
A pot revolution is happening in America, dear readers, and it’s high time the Empire State hops on board.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who as recently as last year publicly opposed legalizing cannabis for recreational use, was singing a different tune this week. At his annual budget address on Tuesday, he called for the state to form a panel to advise him on the prospect of legalizing marijuana.
This announcement came less than a week after the New York State Assembly held a hearing on the possibility of legalizing the devil’s lettuce and on the same day that New Jersey’s new governor Phil Murphy was sworn into office.
“A stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform, including a process to legalize marijuana,” Murphy said in his inauguration speech.
If Murphy and the main powers in the New Jersey state legislature have their way, the Garden State could have a marijuana legalization law on the books as soon as April. Such an ambitious timeline puts a new kind of pressure on its easterly neighbors. New York City is a brief train ride or drive away from Jersey, and if cannabis does become legal there, one could expect a rush of interstate trips made by New Yorkers looking to score some legal jazz cigarettes.
That said, if weed is legalized in New York City, it could spell the end of the numerous High Maintenance–esque pot delivery services that operate throughout the five boroughs. It’s a small price to pay for a measure that would be a major milestone for criminal justice reform advocates and could potentially bring millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the state.