Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pessimistic about the chances of legalizing marijuana within the 2019-20 state budget.
Cuomo on Monday expressed doubt that marijuana legalization and the regulatory framework will be settled in budget negotiations. State legislative leaders have said that it will likely be dealt with after the state budget is finalized.
“I am no longer confident that marijuana legalization will get done by the budget,” Cuomo said at an Albany press conference.
Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is one of Cuomo’s top priorities this year. He included the proposal in his State of the State agenda. His plan would establish licenses for growers and retailers, ban the sale of marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 and impose taxes on the product.
Cuomo’s plan would also allow cities with more than 100,000 people and counties to prohibit marijuana sales.
The Democratic majorities in the state Legislature support legalizing marijuana. But Cuomo said there is a “wide divide” between his stance and what lawmakers want out of the proposed program.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has said that marijuana legalization shouldn’t be rushed.