Considered to be the epitome of the term Concrete Jungle, New York is definitely the most progressive state in the United States. But as progressive as it may seem, New York seem to be slow in action with regards to legalizing Cannabis unlike its fellow states: Alaska, California, Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington DC.
It may be true that the State is already on its way to finally legalizing Marijuana, but there are still a lot of obstacles this process is facing causing the journey to be sluggish and slow moving. One of which is opportunist Politicians, taking advantage of the Cannabis popularity but really are not in to legalizing the plant just to get the voters sympathy. Case in Point: Governor Cuomo’s sudden change of mind (well not really), as he recently ordered Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to submit a report calling for legalization which the commissioner said he is about to do stating that new reports show that the pros now outweighs the cons; but this hasn’t been released yet, giving the Governor an excuse not to push with the legislation this year by merely shrugging and claiming that he is just waiting. This delay can also “cause” for newer “results and/or facts” that could change his mind and simply not to go thru the legalization. The perfect delay; the perfect excuse and he’s completely a Pontius Pilate.
Another would be Fickle Minded Politicians like New York’s mayor; Mayor Bill De Blasio, it may be noted that he has taken steps in terms of reducing arrests relating to pot but he is and he has always been very vocal about his stance and that he is against full legalization of Cannabis in New York. Too Ironic at how he took steps in semi decriminalizing Marijuana but won’t allow legal aged taxpayers to use or smoke pot. This step has caught the critics’ attention like Rory Lancman a Councilman, with Rory Lancman saying "The mayor's policy does not attempt to reduce criminal summonses at all, still allows arrests in circumstances that cannot be justified by public safety, will likely make marijuana policing even more discriminatory toward people of color, continues to expose noncitizens to deportation, and takes no steps to eliminate the collateral consequences which are in the city's control."
While other countries are gaining and earning profit from selling Cannabis products (see France CBD Cofy Shop) New York is also earning from locking up arrested pot users, it is said that a hundred dollar fine is issued to whoever is caught using pot, noting that for the last 20 years, the state of New York has claimed the title of “marijuana arrest capital of the world” with 800,000 arrests in number. I must say that THAT equates to a lot of money, thus becoming another obstacle. No arrests means no fines, No fines equates to No revenue. Business is down.
Timing is just not right. These may not be Sheriff Virt’s exact words but this was what he meant. Tying down Marijuana with drug related cases and arrests, he has clearly said that this is not the right time for a legalization. Worrying that legalization may lead to future addiction especially of the youth to other illegal drugs. With Trump as the president, and the republican in majority specially the senate, it may be next to impossible for legalization of marijuana to happen immediately as this is not the majority’s priority specifically with the conservatives. Let us not forget the profound influence The New York State Conservative Party has over state Republicans. With the party’s head and his belief just like Sheriff Virt’s, Michael Long believes that legalization is a wrong signal for the youth, the young people. With and end quote stating, “We as a party will do everything in our power to oppose legislation.”
In New York’s defense, they did legalize medicinal Marijuana but the said legislation was nothing solid and was set to fail, with it’s impossibly narrow boundaries. No matter how concrete this state, The New York State may appear, it still is weak and thriving in terms of Cannabis legalization, thanks to its leaders; further slowing down the process, not taking into consideration the benefits of legalization may bring the state of New York.
Whispers are being heard that it may happen soon as some are already eyeing the possible profit Cannabis related business might bring in to the state, but these remains to be whispers and will soon be forgotten should legislators fail to admit that Cannabis is helpful not only to human health but also to economic wealth. The question of as to when will New York finally legalize the plant is still left unanswered.