Cuomo says NY doesn’t have a choice but to legalize marijuana

Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

The governor’s stance on legalization has evolved over the years and he put together a study and a commission to research it. However, during an interview in Buffalo Friday, he said the state didn’t really have a choice because neighboring states have either already legalized or are in the process of doing so.

“It is legal. You’ll just force people to drive to Massachusetts or drive to New Jersey and then come back into this state and use it in this state so the commission basically said you’re there already,” he said. “It’s a false choice.”

At this point, Cuomo said his office is working on the details of the bill. For instance, he said questions about how old people should be, how many stores can sell, and what the tax rate is, still need to be answered.

Once again, the laws of the neighboring states will come into play.

“With that, I want to make sure we are somewhat consistent with what Massachusetts is doing and what New Jersey is doing, because otherwise all you’ll do is be forcing people to one state or the other,” he said.

The governor said New York is having direct conversations with New Jersey as the two states craft their laws.

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