Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for New York to legalize recreational marijuana
"We must end the needless and unjust convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let's legalize the adult use of recreational use of marijuana once and for all," the governor said.
- Governor Andrew Cuomo said he'd pursue the legislation in 2019.
- New York would become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.
- The legalization of marijuana in a prominent state like New York would likely represent a landmark shift in how the country views marijuana regulation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday he's aiming to legalize recreational marijuana in New York in early 2019.
The Democrat governor, who was in Manhattan giving an address that outlined an agenda for his first 100 days in office for his upcoming third term, said "we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and the well off, and one for everyone else," adding that some policies disproportionately affected African-American and minority communities.
"And that's going to end," he said in Manhattan. "We must end the needless and unjust convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let's legalize the adult use of recreational use of marijuana once and for all."
Cuomo, who as recently as 2017 called marijuana a "gateway drug," had ordered the state health department to conduct a study forecasting the impacts that legalization would bring to New York. The results, published over the summer, found that the benefits of legalizing pot for adults "would outweigh the potential negative impacts," and predicted that legalization would yield, at the very least, about $250 million in annual tax revenue.
It's unclear where that tax revenue would go, but some groups have suggested putting it toward New York City's subway system or investing it in black and Latino communities that have been hit hardest by drug enforcement policies like stop-and-frisk.
The 'great experiment' in pot-friendly states
New York would become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana if it passes the legislation, potentially joining Alaska, Colorado, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia. What's more, a total of 33 states allow for medical marijuana in some form.
It's hard to say exactly how recreational legalization is working out in other states so far, but it seems generally positive, at least in financial terms. In Colorado, for instance, total marijuana sales hit a record $1.51 billion in 2017, generating more economic output than 90 percent of all other industries in the state, as the Colorado Spring Gazette reports.
Still, it hasn't been without costs. The black market for pot is actually booming in Colorado, despite its legal status, due to illegal growers who move there to grow pot that they eventually sell in other states where marijuana is still illegal. Other reports show that more adults in Colorado are smoking pot after legalization, though consumption rates among kids have remained stable in recent years.
A shift in the national conversation
Marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level. But if New York decides to legalize recreational marijuana, it could represent a landmark shift in the way the country views marijuana regulation, given the state's prominence. The legislation likely wouldn't have a hard time passing, given that Democrats captured the State Senate in November, and a Quinnipiac University poll from May showed that 63 percent of New Yorkers favored legalization.
Nationally, a Pew survey from October showed that 62% of Americans favored legalizing recreational marijuana, up from 31% in 2000.
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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