With Gov. Andrew Cuomo advocating for legalizing marijuana as part of his 100-day agenda in 2019, it seems only a matter of time before New York follows in the footsteps of California, Massachusetts, and Washington state.
And now, just days after Cuomo signaled his support for legal weed, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has released a report that outlines how that could safely be accomplished in New York City, while also acknowledging and working to end the long history of unfair targeting of people of color for marijuana-related offenses.
“I have been convinced that we can establish a regulatory framework that keeps our streets safe, rights the wrongs of the past, and gives economic opportunity to communities hit hardest by the war on drugs,” de Blasio said in a statement. As recently as this spring, de Blasio had stated he was “not there yet” in regards to marijuana legalization.
What changed? The inevitability of it happening, whether de Blasio liked it or not. In January, Cuomo commissioned a study looking at how legal weed might affect New York state, and after the 2018 primary election—during which his challenger, Cynthia Nixon, called for legalization—he moved even further on the issue.
So what could legalization look like in New York City? The report issued by the de Blasio administration, which was created by a task force made up of officials from various city agencies, offers a handful of recommendations that are “centered on local development, equity, public health and a wholesale departure from the failed war on drugs,” according to a release from the Mayor’s office.
Among the most significant are recommendations for address the historically unfair targeting of minorities when it comes to marijuana-related offenses. According to