New York moving to Legalize Recreational Marijuana within Months
Governor Cuomo in New York is moving quickly forward to legalize recreational cannabis use. Cuomo had been an opponent of legalization, but his stance has softened in the last few years and changed completely after a recent study suggested “the benefits of taxing and regulating the drug outweighed any negative effects.” Various organizations and groups are already fighting for the revenue legalization will produce. States that have legalized already have used funds for education, infrastructure, and much more. One idea gaining traction is to use the money to help rebuild New York’s deteriorating subway system.
The broader implication of this action should be noted as well. New York is the 4th most populous state in the U.S. and attracts MILLIONS of visitors every year. Hence, demand for cannabis should increase substantially. Further, this likely puts more pressure on the federal government to adopt legalization laws given New York’s population and influence.
California, the most populous state, is already recreational legal. Florida (#3) has a medical marijuana program while Texas (#2) only has a hemp program. Including New York, these states have roughly 1/3 of the entire U.S. population. Therefore, legalization adoption (or headwinds) in these states can be influential. Other notable mentions include Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois. Michigan approved a recreational legalization ballot initiative in the midterms becoming the first recreational state in the Midwest. Illinois and Ohio, #5 and #7 most populous respectively, are close neighbors and already have medical programs. I think these states could be next in line to add a recreation provision.