As part of his 2021 State of the State announcements, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday a proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York. The Governor’s proposal would create an Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the state’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Following Wednesday’s announcement, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (AD-123) and Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46), Chairs of the Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees, released the following statements.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “I have supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis in NYS for many years. It’s long overdue as many other states, including several of our neighbors, have seen the value of a safe, well-regulated cannabis program. This is a tremendous opportunity to create a new supply chain of growers, processors, and retail operators to meet the existing consumer demand. I am especially encouraged by the Governor’s focus on social equity, making sure that communities that were impacted the most by cannabis prohibition are supported through investments and licensing opportunities. There must also be a focus on small, local growers in traditional agricultural communities who would benefit from an equitable approach to this new industry.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “I fully support legalizing cannabis for adult use and believe it should be a key part of our discussion on COVID-19 recovery strategies. We know that the benefits of legalization are far-reaching: from revenue generation to job creation and expanded markets for farmers to new business opportunities, including in the industrialized hemp industry. Any proposals surrounding legalization must also address the devastating impacts that cannabis-related arrests and incarceration have had on Black and Brown communities and make sure that licenses stay with local small farmers as well as companies who have previously invested in New York. We want an equitable and profitable cannabis industry, with public safety measures built-in, that truly delivers on all these critical needs. I’m confident we can get there.”