New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to study the effects of legalizing marijuana, reversing his position of just a year ago, stating that marijuana was a “gateway drug.”
In his budget address on Jan. 16, the governor, who is trying to fill a $4.4 billion funding gap, says he wants to study the health impact, economic impact, criminal justice impact, and other consequences of legalizing the drug in New York, Syracuse.com reported.
In 2014, he signed a bill called the Compassionate Care Act that allows marijuana to be used for medical purposes in the state.
As recently as last February, however, he seemed to have made up his mind on its recreational use.
“It’s a gateway drug, and marijuana leads to other drugs and there’s a lot of proof that that’s true,” Cuomo said last February, according to the New York Daily News.
Part of the reason he’s considering it, he said, is because nearby states have, or are going through the motions, of legalizing it.
“New Jersey may legalize marijuana. Massachusetts already has. On the other hand, Attorney General Sessions says he’s going to end marijuana in every state. So you have the whole confluence of different information,” Cuomo said during his presentation to the Legislature, according to the New York Law Journal.
“I think we should fund [the Department of Health] to do a study. Let them work with state police and other agencies. Look at the health impact and economic impact.”
A public opinion survey conducted by Emerson College found that 62 percent of New York voters supported decriminalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older.
However, the study, which said it used landline, cell phone, and online responses for its data, had a sample size of only 600 people.