If New York legalizes recreational marijuana in the near future, it may be that Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon has a lot to do with it. She is challenging the current governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, in the upcoming election and is campaigning on an adult-use platform. Instead of maintaining his anti-marijuana stance, Governor Cuomo is now considering embracing cannabis as well.
Cuomo has had a gateway drug mentality towards cannabis for his entire career. But, like many places, New York has been highly influenced by the hard work of advocates that preach the medicinal benefits of cannabis and that the propaganda that suggested cannabis fried brains and served as nothing more than a gateway drug to harder drugs like heroin was inaccurate. In January Governor Cuomo told reporters he would be having the New York Health Department conduct a study to determine the efficacy of an adult-use market.
The report by the New York State Health Department released its findings on Friday. It stated that, “Numerous NYS agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation, and economics worked in developing this assessment. No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised. Regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable NYS to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions.”
Based off of the report, recreational marijuana in New York seems like a very real possibility. There are other signs that New York is leaning towards an adult-use market. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered police to stop arresting people in the city for public consumption or possession of marijuana. Instead, starting in September, police will issue citations that require people to appear in court at a later date in time, but nothing would be added to a criminal record.
According to the report, estimates suggest that the first year of an adult-use market could bring in $248 to $677 million in revenue to New York, which may be another major driving incentive to legalize cannabis. With the advent of technology, New York may not be the center of commerce that it once was, but capitalism is still the signature of NYC. And, while Cynthia Nixon may only have a small chance of winning the governorship, especially since her strategy was just adopted by Cuoma, her plan to legalize cannabis may have accelerated its happening.
It seems to be a common theme that studies are finding that the effects of marijuana legalization are more positive than negative. For New Yorkers, it means less arrests and more clemency granted to people serving time for marijuana related crimes. Less people incarcerated means less tax money having to go towards paying for them. Do you think that if New York State creates an adult-use market for cannabis that it will include expunging records and the granting of clemency?