Cuomo takes action to legalize recreational marijuana in NY

Governor Mr. Andrew Cuomo of New York recently announced his support of legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.  If passed, New York would join Washington D.C. and ten other states in the movement to legalize cannabis, according to The New York Times.

Mr. Cuomo’s announcement shows a change in his viewpoint on the topic of marijuana from when he first entered office.  Originally, he opposed permitting medical marijuana in New York, as he believed the drug would potentially open the door to more dangerous drugs entering the state.  His opinion changed in 2014 when he implemented a small program that allows certain patients access to medical marijuana as part of their treatment, according to The New York Times.

A map of the United States, indicating which states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana. Courtesy of

Recently, Mr. Cuomo concluded that the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana has the potential for more overall success than it does failure, according to

The push to legalize recreational marijuana in the United States has gained popularity in recent years.  Typically, legalization generates money in sales and tax revenue for the state governments.

The other states that have passed legislation of allowing both recreational and medical marijuana are Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, and most recently Massachusetts, according to  New Jersey recently announced that they are also considering legalizing recreational marijuana, according to The New York Times.

One thing Mr. Cuomo did not address in his first announcement is how he would spend the money gained from tax revenues, and what specific regulations he would impose on the drug.  However, he did say that New York would most likely have stricter recreational marijuana laws than other states that have legalized it, according to The New York Times.

A photo depicting a recreational marijuana growing facility in Washington state. Courtesy of

Mr. Cuomo said that restrictions would include the drug only being available to those 21 and older, as well as a local veto. This means that individual counties and cities within New York could choose to not authorize selling cannabis for recreational purposes, according to The New York Times.

Sacred Heart Greenwich Upper School History Teacher Mr. Joseph Valentine commented on the trend he has seen with the legalization of marijuana in the United States in recent years.

“It seems like the trend is for more states to continue to pass legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana,” Mr. Valentine said.  “As of now, ten states and Washington D.C. have passed this type of legislation, while 33 states have passed legislation for medicinal use.”

Mr. Valentine also emphasized that this movement, while growing, still has unknown effects on states and their people.

“It appears this movement has been in place for years now,” Mr. Valentine said.  “Only time will tell what the results will be.”

Featured Image by Katherine Santoro ’19