NYS Senate leader on legalizing marijuana: 'I don't think it will be in the budget'

February 19, 2019 07:10 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) --The issue of legalizing marijuana is getting so complicated in New York, there are leaders in the state that want it out of the state budget.

That means marijuana might not be legal by the budget deadline of April 1. 


Governor Andrew Cuomo likes to get policy issues in the budget so they get approved when the money gets approved.

The governor's office says there is a "budgetary impact" of legalizing marijuana. 

But Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said this to us Tuesday when we asked her where she and the county stands on allowing people to grow and sell marijuana in the county. 

Cheryl Dinolfo, Monroe County Executive: "It's in the governor's budget. We're hearing that might be exiting the budget and put into a stand-alone bill. So right now we're looking at this very complex issue."

So the county executive says legalizing marijuana could come out of the state budget. And that's what the president of the New York State Senate told the Buffalo News two weeks ago.

Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "I don't think it will be in the budget. We want to make sure we get it right." 

If legalizing marijuana is not in the budget, then the state is left with stand-alone bills.

Including one sponsored by Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal People-Stokes. 

And the legislature would have until the end of June to vote on it. 

News10NBC spoke to the governor's office late Tuesday afternoon. The plan is to have marijuana in the state budget because there's a budget impact to it. 

But the governor also said this on Feb. 1 on the Capitol Pressroom, a radio show in Albany. 

"I will not allow a marijuana system that doesn't safeguard public safety to operate in this state," Governor Cuomo said. "I don't care if it's in the budget or outside of the budget, I'm not going to be as governor of the state complicit in the situation that I think would lend itself to violating the law endangering young people or endangering public safety."

The governor says a special report he commissioned last year concluded the benefits of legalizing marijuana outweigh the risks.

News10NBC has reported to you the concerns police have especially with impaired driving. 

News10NBC is investigating what legal marijuana means for people getting arrested for it right now. Our investigation airs Monday. 


Berkeley Brean

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