Social Equity and Community Reinvestment Must Be Focus of New York Legalization Bill
“Congratulations to our neighbors in New Jersey who overwhelmingly approved marijuana legalization in their ballot initiative yesterday; their legislature will now consider a bill to establish legal marijuana use for adults over 21. New Yorkers approve of legalization by a 2 to 1 margin, including a majority of Republicans, and we must push our state policymakers to be responsive to the will of New Yorkers and legalize adult use marijuana in our state in the upcoming legislative session.
New Yorkers will soon have the option to make an easy trip across the river for legal access – building on the wave of New Yorkers who have traveled to Massachusetts to buy cannabis in recent years – and continuing the outflow of dollars that could instead be cannabis tax revenue that New York could use to rebuild communities in our state that have been devastated by the marijuana arrest crusade.
New York still has the opportunity to lead on cannabis legalization by establishing the most ambitious legalization program in the country and implementing cannabis legalization from a social justice lens, where other states have fallen short. Governor Cuomo and the legislature can cement New York as the national model for marijuana legalization by centering reinvestment, equity, and justice within our comprehensive reform. We can do this by making our legalization effort one that benefits all those who have been harmed by prohibition and focusing on creating equitable jobs and small businesses across the state as New York looks to recover from the pandemic.
The Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) will continue to advocate that any legalization framework include provisions to reinvest tax revenues into communities harmed by cannabis criminalization, and looks forward to seeing that bill pass in New York this session.”