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Cuomo says political shift could hurt marijuana legalization in NY

New Jersey’s failure to legalize marijuana this year has complicated the “political environment” for the proposal in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview.

The measure, one of the governor’s top priorities for the end of the legislative session in June, remains in the negotiations as lawmakers last week introduced an amendment that included elements of what Cuomo proposed at the start of the year.

There are still differences: Cuomo wants to seal records of low-level drug offenses; lawmakers support expunging those arrests from the record.

But Cuomo said in an interview on WNYC that the criminal justice aspect was not a deal breaker. Instead, he pointed to New Jersey as well as the debate over what to do with the resulting sales tax revenue.

“The more difficult issues are the amount of marijuana you can have, homegrown or not, what do you do with the revenues that you raise, who do you authorize to open stores to actually sell the marijuana,” Cuomo said.

“But I don’t think the issue here is even that, I don’t think it’s going to be on the merits, I think it’s on the politics. New Jersey was going to legalize it, New Jersey stopped. I think that started to shift the political environment. I don’t believe, the Senators say on the record that they don’t have the votes to pass it politically. And I think that’s the problem here, is the political reality that you don’t have the votes in the Senate. And I support it, I proposed it, but we’re getting down to the final three weeks or so and they’re still saying they don’t have the votes.”

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