After months of debate this legislative session on how the state will approach legalization, the legislature adjourned this week without reaching a conclusion.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger's Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was unable to gain enough support in the Senate to receive a vote before the legislature's deadline.
However, the legislature did approve improvements to New York's decriminalization cannabis policies.
Lawmakers passed legislation to fix the state's decriminalization law and provide for automatic expungement for those with certain misdemeanor cannabis convictions. This reform will save thousands of New Yorkers from arrest and allow those with previous cannabis convictions to move on with their lives. For more details, read our full summary of the bill here.
It is unfortunate that despite the majority of New Yorkers supporting legalization, the legislature failed to act this session. It is past time to end cannabis prohibition in New York. Let your lawmakers know you want them to end prohibition and replace it with a system where marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.
With the New York Legislature in the final weeks of its 2019 legislative session, we need you to take action NOW to help get the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act across the finish line.
Just last week, the Illinois Legislature passed a landmark cannabis regulation bill, and New York can do the same — if we can get lawmakers to act!
In fact, New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act closely mirrors the Illinois legislation — with far-reaching expungement provisions for prior convictions, funding for communities harmed by the war on drugs, social equity measures, and funding to ensure people from impacted communities are able to enter the cannabis industry.
This week, Assembly Majority Leader and bill sponsor Crystal Peoples-Stokes said she believes the Assembly support is there to pass the bill, and Gov. Cuomo signaled his continued support for legalization. But New York lawmakers MUST make passage a legislative priority, as the bill has to advance before the session ends on Wednesday, June 19.
The New York bill would not just ensure marijuana is legalized, but legalized the right way — rooted in racial, economic, and social justice.
A big thanks goes to the Drug Policy Alliance for leading legalization efforts in New York. And thanks in advance for your help!