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New York Governor Promises To Legalize Recreational Marijuana This Year

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to legalize recreational marijuana in the state this year.

In his nearly two-hour State of the State address on Wednesday, the governor said that New York will soon fully legalize adult-use marijuana, becoming the twelfth state in the nation to do so.

Cuomo had included cannabis reform in his budget proposal last year, but was unable to get recreational marijuana legalized.

This year, Governor Cuomo has proposed a comprehensive cannabis program to protect consumers, promote equity, and generate economic development by working with the neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to coordinate a safe and fair system.

Cuomo has proposed to create a new Office of Cannabis Management to specialize in cannabis regulation and oversee the state's medical, adult-use and hemp programs.
The proposal will also correct past harms to individuals and communities that have disproportionally been impacted by prohibition.

To safeguard public health, the proposal limits the sale of cannabis products to adults aged 21 and over. It also calls for the establishment of stringent quality and safety controls, including oversight over the packaging, labeling, advertising and testing of all cannabis products.

In addition, the proposal involves the funding of a state-wide education campaign to communicate the health risks of cannabis use for vulnerable populations and educate the public about the dangers of driving while impaired.

"Cannabis legalization has the potential to have a significant economic impact on distressed areas in New York creating thousands of new jobs, spurring billions in economic activity and generating an estimated $300 million in tax revenue when fully implemented," the proposal document says.

The governor proposed creating a first of its kind Global Cannabis and Hemp Center for Science, Research and Education, with the State University of New York or SUNY and other expert partners.

The new center will initially focus on three main areas - toxicity, bioavailability, and dosing mechanisms.

Cuomo noted that the center's focus on science and research will naturally lead to the creation of university course curricula based on these three areas. The center will also position New York as a leader in safety, sustainability, production and knowledge in the burgeoning industry.

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