Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for years now has sponsored legislation to legalize the adult-use of marijuana.

Now with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s full weight behind the issue, Peoples-Stokes expected an executive proposal in the budget. She hoped it would include many of the same ideas she has championed.

Specifically, the assemblywoman wanted to make sure revenue from the new industry is earmarked for largely impoverished minority communities who have been disenfranchised by a disproportionate level of enforcement of the current law. She said she did have some expectation the governor would include that as part of his bill based on the conversations she’d had leading up to the budget address, but was still happy to hear it in his speech.

“I did smile a little bit about that,” she said. “That was pleasing.”

But as Cuomo has often said, it’s the details that are important and Peoples-Stokes says she doesn’t know exactly how the bill aims to help these communities but she has her own ideas. For instance she said the state should provide resources to incentivize the kinds of businesses that make for stronger communities.

“We incentivize Tesla to come and bring some jobs that they haven’t even quite completed yet. Why don’t we incentivize a market to come and bring fresh food to communities that are clearly food deserts,” she said.

Peoples-Stokes called for investment in general for disenfranchised communities, as well as resources for people who want to get involved in the legal cannabis business.

More information on our State of Politics blog