Marijuana

Cuomo Seems Intent on Screwing up New York's Marijuana Legalization

No home cultivation? Increased criminal penalties? This is not the way to end a drug war.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tried and failed to legalize recreational marijuana use for several years now, and in his budget proposal for 2021, he's giving it yet another try.

How hard can it be to legalize marijuana once the public supports it? In New York, the conflict is over the money, of course. In Cuomo's budget proposal, he's entirely focused on the revenue marijuana sales will bring into the state. He's proposing a 10.25 percent state sales tax, and allowing local sales taxes on top of it. Cuomo predicted that eventually, once the state's system is fully operational, the government will be bringing in $300 million in tax revenue annually.

But unfortunately, it looks like Cuomo's proposal may also have some embedded bad ideas. Last year, when Cuomo started shopping around a legalization plan, it included a complete ban on home cultivation for recreational use. In order to legally access marijuana, you had to buy it from a legal vendor, thus guaranteeing the government gets a sweet cut of the money.

Reason has requested a copy of the governor's full proposal, but his office has not yet responded. According to Marijuana Moment, which has spoken to local advocates, the home cultivation ban is back in Cuomo's new legislation—and he's actually expanded it. Last year's proposal allowed medical marijuana users to grow plants at home. This year's proposal allows cultivation for neither recreational nor medical marijuana users, a ban reportedly urged by major marijuana companies.

The proposal also allows municipalities and counties with a population of 100,000 and more to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana sales, so in some parts of the state, you may not be able to buy or grow your own marijuana. By contrast, California allows cities to opt out of retail sales, but citizens are permitted to grow up to six plants for their own use at home.

The proposal also doesn't authorize delivery or point-of-sale marijuana consumption but will leave it to regulators to develop new categories of licenses later on.

More bad news about Cuomo's plan came from public defender Eli Northrup of The Bronx Defenders. He noticed that Cuomo's plan actually increases the criminal penalty for anybody caught selling marijuana to somebody who is under 21. It's currently a misdemeanor, but Cuomo's plan turns it into a class D felony with a potential prison sentence of up to two and a half years. The current marijuana legalization bill in circulation in the state's legislature keeps it as a misdemeanor.

Cuomo's proposal shows that he and the state don't actually care that much about the devastating impact that the war on marijuana has had on poor communities. He just wants to make sure that the state still has a solid cash flow once they've stopped locking people up, fining them, and seizing their property. And if anybody attempts to grow or smoke weed without giving the state its cut, he's willing to keep the drug war going.

NEXT: Flack Leans into the Cynical, Ruthless World of Celebrity PR

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  2. Cuomo Seems Intent on Screwing up New York

    Fixed

    1. Cuomo Seems Intent on Screwing up New York’s Marijuana Legalization

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  3. At least he didn’t fuck up how handled sending COVID patients to nursing homes…

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  4. He noticed that Cuomo’s plan actually increases the criminal penalty for anybody caught selling marijuana to somebody who is under 21.

    The penalty for selling loosies remains the same. Strangulation.

    1. Like David Carradine?

      1. He carried out the sentence himself, instead of leaving it up to some NYPD beat cop, like Eric Garner did.

    2. Firm but fair. The tax man will get his cut or else.

  5. And these people are the ones we’re supposed to trust with the global thermostat?

    1. Tthey would manage to screw up sitting at home doing nothing and collecting a basic income.

    2. And our healthcare. And our retirements.

  6. It’s so easy. It is a plant. Pretend it is lettuce. Treat it the same. Done.

    1. If Cuomo reads your comment, he’s going to make selling lettuce to a minor a Class D felony.

    2. sell it in Supermarkets, that’s the idea.

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  8. When you’re an asshole, it’s hard not to be an asshole.

  9. “Cuomo’s proposal shows that he and the state don’t actually care that much about the devastating impact that the war on marijuana has had on poor communities. He just wants to make sure that the state still has a solid cash flow once they’ve stopped locking people up, fining them, and seizing their property.”

    Legalize marijuana, and then hunt down “seditionists” and “insurrectionists” and confiscate their property.

    Problem solved.

  10. If you don’t like it, you can always go start your own state.

    1. bUiLd youR oWn neW yoRk!

  11. Cuomo is proof we live in a simulation. It’s the kid in his single mom’s basement who can’t believe what creatures he created, right on the border between sentient and gullible, and he’s pushing the idiocy farther and farther to see when the cognitive dissonance module finally kicks in.

    1. fuck off Brandybuck

  12. “He’s proposing a 10.25 percent state sales tax, and allowing local sales taxes on top of it.”

    New Yorkers will soon be buying lots of doobies that “fell off a truck.”

    Let’s hope nobody ends up strangled.

  13. Cuomo has to screw up any legalislation so that his Alma Mater can maintain the traditional control of illicit Drug dealing. Otherwise the Mafia has a lot to lose

  14. If Reason allows Scott Shackford to lobby the NY Assembly and Senate to improve Gov. Cuomo’s marijuana legalization proposal in budget proposal (instead of assigning Shackford to write more anti Trump screeds).

    Another concern is to not limit the number of marijuana growers and dispensary licenses, and not allow monopolies or oligopolies to control the market.

    1. NY is the place of taxi medallions.

      Limits are put in place expressly to create those oligopolies that then need to stay in line and lobby the government to keep that stranglehold on everyone so they don’t lose the value of their license.

      1. Dependency is deliberately cultivated to maintain control.

  15. No home cultivation? Increased criminal penalties? This is not the way to end a drug war.

    Does anyone think Cuomo wants to end the drug war? This is a man who thrives on the power to kill people. When Covid came around he *leaped* on the opportunity to kill thousands.

    1. Cuomo is Satan.

  16. Thanks Cuomo.

    1. I’ve been waiting for this since I voted for Ralph Nader.

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  19. Since one of the major reason to legalize marijuana is to curb the effects of the illicit market, it’s critical that taxes imposed not boost the price to the point that illicit suppliers can easily undercut the price at licensed outlets. High taxes are one of the major reasons California still has a thriving illicit market and illicit production. new York seems to be headed down the same path due to Cuomo’s economic illiteracy.

  20. Every time I see the name Cuomo the term box of rocks comes to mind.

    1. Evil as a box of rocks? Haven’t heard that one before but, the phrase “evil is as evil does” certainly comes to mind whenever I hear the name Cuomo.

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