Cuomo Says Marijuana Bill Won’t Pass Before Summer Break

Wall Street Journal
Published on:
June 4th, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters it wouldn’t matter how much he pushed for a bill legalizing recreational marijuana. PHOTO: MARY ESCH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he doesn’t see a feasible path to legalizing recreational marijuana before state lawmakers adjourn for the summer.

The Democratic governor told reporters on Monday that he didn’t think there was enough support in the state Senate to pass a bill to regulate and tax marijuana, given other issues pending before lawmakers adjourn for the summer on June 19.

“I don’t think it matters how much I push it in 11 days,” the governor said, referring to the scheduled time the state Assembly and Senate will convene in session. “I think when the Senate says we don’t have the votes, I take them at their word.”

State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, amended a marijuana bill late last month but said she would need Mr. Cuomo to campaign for the legislation if it were to advance in her chamber.

Leaders of the Senate and the Assembly, both of which are controlled by Democrats, haven’t committed to bringing the bill to the floor. Their press representatives said Monday they were still discussing the measure with members.

Most Republicans oppose the measure. Republican State Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy said that there were unanswered questions about legalizing marijuana, and that it could send a bad message to New Yorkers.

Supporters of Ms. Krueger’s bill aren’t giving up. They and opponents of the measure are planning events at the Capitol on Wednesday.

“We are calling on the leadership to act—and to me, the leadership is not just Cuomo,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for the legalization of marijuana. “We have a majority Democratic Legislature. They can pass the bills, and then make Cuomo answer to that.”

During his press conference, Mr. Cuomo urged lawmakers to extend the statute of limitations for certain rape charges, make it easier to bring sexual harassment claims and enact an equal-rights amendment that would add language on gender discrimination to the New York state Constitution.

Roberta Kaplan, co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, said that while there is no statute of limitations for first-degree rape charges, which involve forcible compulsion, many rapes involve other types of coercion.

“Every day that New York’s statute of limitations remains out-of-step with the rest of the country, women suffer,” Ms. Kaplan said.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Yonkers, said she looked “forward to taking up these important pro-women bills that we have supported for many years.”

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat from the Bronx, said his colleagues have “sponsored a number of bills to help move these and other issues forward and we will be discussing them.”


Read this at The Wall Street Journal.