New York's Big Cannabis Moment

Tameka Kee

There is a reason why residents of the state of New York do not often see eye-to-eye on laws and mores.  New York City is an extremely liberal city surrounded in a state filled with more purple and red hues. But recent trends have demonstrated that the oft-divided state may just come together to legalize cannabis.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 63% of all New Yorkers currently support cannabis legalization, the highest this recurring poll has ever recorded the yea's. In fact, upstate respondent support was 60%, almost the same as NYC's 66% (link, pdf). As we have seen in other areas, cannabis legalization is slowly experiencing mutual support in all parties. Whether it be that usage can improve quality of life for those suffering or the taxation benefits or opportunities for new economies, nearly everyone is finding a reason to support cannabis.

Additionally, actress Cynthia Nixon's ascendent gubernatorial campaign has place legalization at the forefront of its messaging, dragging incumbent Andrew Cuomo and NYC mayor Bill De Blasio towards greater acceptance and action. On Monday, the press reported that De Blasio had ordered cops to not make arrests for common cannabis use in the streets. Prior to Nixon's campaign, Cuomo ordered the Department of Health to start studying the issue in January.

On top of this all,  The New York Daily News - not necessarily known for being a crusader for decriminalization - published a powerful editorial: End the war on pot: We welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana.

> It's time to end this reefer madness!

> An early look at Friday's front...

> — New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) May 18, 2018

The editorial touches upon many of the above reasons, while also calling attention to the unfair, selective application of existing laws to minorities.

New York previously legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2014, but its approach was called one of the most restrictive in the land. But time has loosened some of those restrictions, and recreational cannabis is the next logical step. But when?

While there isn't a law being placed on the ballot yet, many believe Cuomo's initial study is the first step down the path to legalization.