New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is endorsing the weed decriminalization in the state. Cuomo said he wants to sign a bill legalizing recreational weed in the state within the first few months of his third term. Some analysts estimated that marijuana could generate around $1.7 billion in revenue.
Cuomo also ordered the New York State Department of Health to analyze the benefits and risks of recreational marijuana. The study will include marijuana legalization’s effects on health, criminal justice, and the economy of the state.
Cuomo’s announcement follows a recent recommendation by law enforcement agencies in New York City to legalize low-level cannabis offenses which have affected minorities.
As for New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy, he was eager to sign the legislation for legalizing weed in the state in 2018. But state lawmakers have been debating on the bill, especially on specific concerns such as safety of motorists. States that have decriminalized weed have seen a spike in traffic accidents. While state legislators offer to train police officers to spot weed-intoxicated drivers, they are unsure if increasing the number of these experts would translate to safer roads after legalization.
Washington Plans to Pardon Weed Convicts
Meanwhile, on the West coast, Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently announced he plans on pardoning thousands of people convicted of small-time possession of marijuana. Inslee’s plan comes more than six years after Washington state legalized cannabis use for adults.
The governor announced during his speech at a cannabis industry conference in SeaTac, near Seattle, that he is thinking about expediting the process allowing about 3,500 people to apply for a pardon without the need of hiring lawyers or going to court.
Applicants as far back as 1998, can fill out a form for the pardon of marijuana sentences on the Inslee’s website.
Other states allow expunging marijuana convictions, but this legal proceeding has been tedious. The process requires a lawyer or court appearances. Some cities have simplified the method of clearing convictions following Washington’s and Colorado’s lead in decriminalizing recreational weed use since 2012. City governments of Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco are clearing old cannabis convictions all at once. Meanwhile, new legislation in California orders prosecutors to erase or reduce around 220,000 weed convictions.