New York governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to legalize adult use of marijuana and mobile sports betting in the state this week.
Cuomo made the pledge during his annual State of the State address in Albany on Monday.
In front of a small group of attendees, Cuomo promised that both proposals would raise revenue for the state and align it with neighboring states. Fifteen other states, including neighbors New Jersey and Massachusetts already legalized marijuana.
“We will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 states that have already done so,” he also tweeted this week. The move, Cuomo said the move will “raise revenue and end the failed prohibition of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.”
Cuomo also said that legalizing marijuana would put a stop to “the over criminalization of this product that has left so many communities of color over policed and over incarcerated.”
“Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs,” his office said.
Earlier this month Cuomo had outlined a system for overseeing and regulating marijuana through an Office of Cannabis Management.
“I’ve supported it for years. I’ve tried to pass it, but this is a year where we do need the funding, and a lot of New Yorkers are struggling. So I think this year will give us the momentum to get it over the goal line,” Cuomo said.
New York will offer specific licensing opportunities and assistance to business owners in communities of color disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
Mobile sports betting also has support of several local lawmakers in the state. “By legalizing mobile sports betting, New York will be able to reap the benefits of the economic gains it will create and help the state rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Queens State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Jr. on January 6th.
At Monday’s address, Cuomo also focused on COVID-19 and said the state would create a 1,000-member public health corps in partnership with Cornell University and the Northwell Hospital System. The health corps will administer vaccines statewide and prepare New York for future emergencies.
Cuomo also talked about climate change and plans to make the state the “green energy capital of the world.”