Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo delayed the implementation of the state's cannabis legalization bill, a top Democrat in the state Senate Tuesday said in a Capital Tonight interview, pointing to his lukewarm history on the issue.
"He didn't seem to be in any rush to actually get the new authority or the regulations written," said Sen. Liz Krueger, a co-sponsor of the measure that was approved this year legalizing marijuana in New York.
Cuomo did sign the measure and had included the proposal to fully legalize marijuana for retail and recreational use in the state in several of his budget plans in recent years. But Cuomo's own stance evolved rapidly this decade during his time in office. He once called marijuana a gateway drug and eventually backed a medical marijuana system as it became clear lawmakers had the votes to create one.
Facing scandal and controversy this year, the Cuomo administration delayed implementing key aspects of the marijuana law, including the appointment of a board to oversee and write regulations for the new system.
"In my heart I felt he was purposefully delaying the hiring of people. He had always been ambiguous at best about anything related to cannabis," Krueger said.
The Cannabis Control Board has now been appointed and has started to hire staff. It will still take some time to write regulations to fully put the law in place.
"We can't just start to give them out, we have to go through a relatively complex regulatory process," Krueger said. "Eventually is coming, it's just coming later as we hoped."