Dozens of organized labor groups, progressive organizations, and businesses are set to launch on Wednesday a coalition to make a final push for the legalization of adult-use cannabis products in New York.
All told, more than 40 groups are signing onto the coalition called New Yorkers for New Revenue & Jobs, highlighting what advocates contend is one of the main selling points of legalized marijuana in New York: the millions of dollars in revenue the measure would provide in the coming years for the state and local governments.
It has been estimated marijuana will lead to $2.6 billion in revenue for the state by 2027.
The coalition includes the New York AFL-CIO, as well as the New York Cannabis Industry Association and the Long Island Progressive Coalition.
“New York is in the midst of the worst unemployment crisis in 100 years. Our communities need jobs," said John Durso, RWDSU/UFCW 338 President. "A legal cannabis industry would create tens of thousands of jobs across the state, yielding billions of dollars in income for its workforce. As our state starts to rebuild and pull itself out of this economic and public health catastrophe, we must support new industries like this that allow middle-class New Yorkers opportunities to rebuild as well.”
State lawmakers this month are considering two different plans, one proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his $192 billion budget plan, and another that has been long supported by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.
The overarching goal for the measure's sponsors is to ensure communities negatively affected by previous drug laws share in the benefits of legalization through a social equity fund. That, in turn, would fund programs like after school activities and job training.
Differences have abounded in Albany over the years surrounding the measure, with some Democrats in the legislature raising opposition to the effect of legalizing marijuana on traffic safety as well as the potential for children to have easier access.