If New York lawmakers are going to legalize marijuana, this is their final week of the year to do to.
The state Legislature is set to conclude its six-month legislative session on Wednesday, and so far, legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have shown no confidence that a deal will be reached before the sides leave the state Capitol for the year.
The New York Farm Bureau recently backed a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New York, which lawmakers are considering before they end their annual session June 19.
“I don’t think it is feasible at this point,” Cuomo said June 3. “I don’t think it matters how much I push.”
Cuomo said he supports legalizing marijuana and included it as part of his state budget proposal in January.
But the measure fell out of the budget for the fiscal year that started April 1, and since then, leaders have been unable to reach consensus on bill to make the New York the 11th state in the nation to have legal pot sales.
Advocates in Albany have pressed lawmakers to pass the bill before the session ends, saying the state should not longer criminalize marijuana and instead tax and regulate it so it no longer disproportionately leads to arrests of minorities in inner cities.
Supporters will be out in force in the halls of state Capitol this week.
“States across the country have passed comprehensive marijuana legalization to build safer, stronger communities and New York should as well,” the group Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade said a statement.
The effort picked up the backing of the state Farm Bureau in recent days. The group said being able to grow marijuana would be a boost to struggling farmers in New York.New Y
“Given the current status of the farm economy in New York state, farmers recognize the potential opportunity the cultivation of cannabis could be for New York State’s agriculture industry,” the group wrote in the memo.
The California-based MedMen Enterprises pot conglomerate is manufacturing medical marijuana in Utica, Oneida County, and has plans to build out the site to replicate its 45,000-square-foot $15 million pot production plant in Nevada’s high desert.