A press release from earlier this month established that Cuomo was viewing cannabis with a new perspective. In his 20-point agenda, number 18 read:
During a speech shortly after, Cuomo sounded far more woke on cannabis than ever before, as the New York Times reports his saying:
Legalize Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana: Governor Cuomo will end the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.
“The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well off, and one for everyone else,” Mr. Cuomo said before introducing the cannabis proposal, describing the injustice that had “for too long targeted the African-American and minority communities.The proposal didn't go into specifics, in January the new session of the New York State legislature will have Democratic majorities in both houses, and many have expressed support for a cannabis program. The State Department of Health was tasked by Cuomo to examine what legalization would like, and in July they issued their report concluding the benefits outweighed any negitives. The tax revenue is estimated to be between $248 million and $677 million in the first year alone. The report concluded that cannabis legalization could "also ease the opioid crisis and mitigate racial disparities in the criminal justice system."
"Let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” he added.
Cuomo was not down with the dank for many years, serving as a fierce opponent of medical cannabis. Per the Times:
[Cuomo] for years rejected allowing even medical marijuana, declaring that its dangers overshadowed its benefits. He continued to oppose it into 2013, before approving a highly limited pilot program in 2014.
After complaints from advocates, the state eased some of those restrictions in 2016. But Mr. Cuomo remained wary, telling reporters as recently as last year that he considered marijuana a “gateway drug.”