Legalization included in Gov. Cuomo's 2020 budget proposal

Last update: February 10, 2020


The push for New York to legalize marijuana for adult use has picked back up in 2020. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has included legalization in his budget proposal for a second year. However, key legislators and advocates criticized the governor’s proposal for failing to allocate tax revenue to communities hardest hit by the war on drugs. Negotiations on the details continue. 

The budget must be approved by April 1. Lawmakers could also try to pass a standalone bill before the legislative session ends.

Unfortunately, after months of debate, legalization fell short in 2019. The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act was not able to gain enough support in the Senate to receive a vote before the legislature’s deadline. 

This year, support for legalization in New York has reached an all-time high, with 58 percent of voters in favor of legalizing marijuana for adult use. Let your lawmakers know you want them to get legalization over the finish line in 2020!

Gov. Cuomo signs bill to improve decriminalization law


In 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed A08420/S06579 into law, which fixed the state’s decriminalization law and added automatic expungement for past convictions.

The bill reduces the penalty for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana to a $50 fine (from $100). It also closes the “public view” loophole that law enforcement has used as a pretext to arrest tens of thousands of New Yorkers and automatically erases old convictions for decriminalized conduct. You can read a summary of the law here.

PTSD added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana


To mark Veterans Day, in November 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an MPP Foundation-backed bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition. In addition, the Department of Health added chronic pain to the list of qualifying conditions in 2017. MPP and our supporters urged that restrictions in the proposed rules be removed, and while the Department of Health declined to do so, it did clarify that patients need not try opioids prior to qualifying for medical cannabis.

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