Cuomo amends marijuana legalization plan, but not enough yet for lawmakers

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The Cuomo administration has amended its marijuana legalization proposals to include new efforts pertaining to regulating the drug market, the taxation of suppliers and how to prod illicit marijuana suppliers to join a legalized system.

“We’ve looked at lessons learned,” said Norman Birenbaum, the state’s director of cannabis programs, in an interview after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week unveiled his second bid in two years to legalize the growth, sales and use of marijuana in New York.

Those lessons include what’s been happening in states that have legalized marijuana – including various problems with everything from taxation and regulation to road safety – as well as input from state lawmakers and border states with New York that are eyeing marijuana legalization as well.

But there is one point on which the Cuomo administration has not moved: where to direct $300 million in projected marijuana excise tax revenues, an amount legalization opponents say is overly rosy.

Like most other tax revenues, Cuomo wants the money to flow into the state’s general fund with decisions about spending those proceeds being made on an annual basis as part of the budget. [Read more at The Buffalo News]