New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 10 that he would resign days after the release of an incriminating report that alleges Cuomo had sexually harassed several women and may face criminal charges. Cuomo said his resignation would take effect on August 24. Upon Cuomo’s departure, New York Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will step into the limelight in Albany.
It raises the question: what does this mean for New York’s coming adult-use cannabis market? Overall, this is good news, Hochul’s position on marijuana legalization has, in the past, mirrored that of Cuomo: Pragmatic but not passionate. Her most extensive remarks came from an interview with Cheddar earlier in the year, prior to the passing of a cannabis legalization bill by the New York state legislature.
In the interview, Hochul called legalization, “long overdue” in New York. “We need the money,” she said. “People who were reluctant before didn’t join us in promoting this. Now, all of a sudden, you’re saying, ‘Well, I guess because of COVID, with a $15 billion budget deficit, we need to find money anywhere we can.'”
The new governor also acknowledged the importance of social equity provisions in the state’s new legalization law. She told Cheddar, “[We] want to make sure that communities of color will understand exactly what’s involved in applying for these licenses as soon as they’re available.” As New York’s new governor, Kathy Hochul has the fortuity to embrace regulated adult-use marijuana as her issue and her success. It’s not only a historic moment for the state of New York, but it’s also great for the future of marijuana and its legalization.