Marijuana foes aim to thwart N.Y. legalization again

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With Gov. Andrew Cuomo aiming to win approval for legalized recreational marijuana in seven weeks, opponents of the proposal urged lawmakers Monday to deal with the issue outside of the state budget.

Cuomo has repeatedly said he believes the cannabis proposal will falter if it is handled independently of his $178 billion state spending blueprint.

The push for an on-time budget — the state’s next fiscal year begins April 1 — is heating up amid complications relating to calls from upstate and suburban lawmakers to scale back the controversial bail laws that took effect January 1.

There are new indications some lawmakers are so adamant in favoring the restoration of judicial discretion in bail decisions they may withhold their support for the marijuana proposal.

Should a standoff continue over the bail issue, it could doom the marijuana legalization effort for another year. A drive to add New York to the column of states with legal weed ran off the tracks late in the 2019 legislative session after it was removed from budget negotiations.

One of the leaders of a coalition of anti-marijuana groups, Kyle Belokopitsky, director of the New York State Parent Teachers Association, noted in her 22 years of following budget talks proposals unrelated to state spending happen with regularity. [Read more at The Daily Star]