The author of the Assembly adult-use marijuana bill says she believes the state will legalize in 2020 and likely during the budget process.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she met with the governor’s counsel in Albany this week.
“It was a very encouraging meeting,” she said. “He, from my understanding, does plan to add it to his budget again. There may or may not be some pieces of the conversation that he had with the five other governors, from a regional perspective, included and so I just await the opportunity to see what he puts forward and I feel pretty confident that we can make something happen this session.”
Peoples-Stokes acknowledged she also thought the legislation would pass year. However it got held up for several reasons.
There was some disagreement about how to disburse the new revenue the industry created. The assemblywoman wants to make sure a good portion of it goes toward communities that have been disenfranchised by previous criminal enforcement.
She also pointed out some Democratic state senators from Long Island seemed to get cold feet last year after the counties they represented preemptively opted out.
“I believe that they’re going to feel more comfortable in voting for it this year simply by the poll numbers, not just of Upstate New York or Downstate New York but of Long Island too,” she said. “I mean the voters would really like to see this legalized. They don’t want to keep waiting.”
Peoples-Stokes said ideally the governor would include her bill in the budget, which she said is already an amalgamation of her previous legislation and the governor’s recommendation. However, she believes more likely it will be a new bill but said she thinks there will be room for lawmakers to make some additions and come to a compromise.
The majority leader said even if it passes this year it probably wouldn’t be effective for at least another year.