Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address Promises Progress, Continued Fight to Legalize Cannabis

Marijuana Legalization

Gov. Andrew Cuomo giving the 2020 State of the State address to the New York Legislature. Photo Credit: Seth Wenig

By Angela Underwood

The leader of the Empire State made one thing very clear in his State of the State address Wednesday—his fight to legalize cannabis goes on.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began the annual New Year declaration noting “it is going to be a challenging year,” during the “political and social superstorm” citing political divides and the recent spate of hate crimes in his address.

“The forecast suggests it will get worse before it gets better,” he said.

After a bleak foreshadowing, Cuomo got right to the point. He is all about breakthrough, pointing to President Theodore Roosevelt to prove his point.

“A great democracy has got to be progressive, or it will soon cease to be great or a democracy,” Cuomo said repeating the words of Roosevelt.

After also quoting Henry David Thoreau, Cuomo addressed climate change and the need for immediate attention to the matter with the $3 billion ‘Restore Mother Nature’ Bond Act. While affordable housing, women’s equality, and education are issues New York will fight for, legalizing weed remains on the battlefield.

Continued Fight to Legalize Cannabis

“Let’s legalize adult use of marijuana,” he said, later tweeting the same for any who may have missed his address.

He bolded the priority on his speech agenda prior to the 1:30 p.m. address, saying his administration will continue with a comprehensive regulatory approach to legalize cannabis while establishing an Office of Cannabis Management that will oversee all medical and adult-use and hemp programs.

“The proposal will administer social equity licensing opportunities, develop an egalitarian adult-use market structure and facilitate market entry through access to capital, technical assistance and incubation of equity entrepreneurs. The proposal will also correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionally been impacted by prohibition.

To safeguard public health, the proposal limits the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishes stringent quality and safety controls including oversight over the packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products.

These efforts will be done in coordination with neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Governor will also propose creating a first of its kind Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education with SUNY and other expert partners,” the website reads.