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Cuomo to take fact-finding tour of legal cannabis states

Medical marijuana plants at the Curaleaf facility near Albany.
Karen DeWitt
Medical marijuana plants at the Curaleaf facility near Albany.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that as New York prepares to make adult recreational marijuana use legal, he plans to soon visit states where marijuana is legal to get some tips on what did and did not work for them. 

Cuomo said he’ll go to California, Colorado, Illinois and Massachusetts in the coming weeks to meet with officials there and find out how they are carrying out the monitoring, sale and taxing of the drug and whether they have any revenue streams devoted to lower-income communities adversely affected by marijuana prohibition.

The governor has included a bill in his budget plan, and says it is a “major priority.” 

“So that we have the best bill and the best system when we pass it,” said Cuomo. “And I want to pass it by April 1.” 

Legislative sponsors of legalizing cannabis differ with the governor on one key issue. They want a dedicated fund to help those who disproportionately suffered under the criminalization of cannabis. Cuomo wants a portion of the marijuana taxes to go to the programs, but he does not want it spelled out in the statute.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.