New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio endorsed cannabis legalization on December 20, 2018. Mayor, de Blasio, a Democrat in his second term, told reporters he supported the "safe and fair legalization of marijuana in New York."
The mayor released his Task Force report on Cannabis Legalization, calling for a strong, public health-focused regulatory framework and the empowerment of local government to prevent corporate greed and foster small businesses, while meeting the demands of New York City communities, reported local news media.
De Blasio said that with the legalization of cannabis he hopes for a "clean slate and a fair future," for New York City and called for low-level weed convictions to be expunged.
New York State officials, meanwhile, have also been working to legalize recreational marijuana. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his 2019 agenda, in which he placed the legalization of recreational marijuana a top priority for the start of his third term.
Some are calling for the use the tax revenue to fix the New York City’s deteriorating subway system but no decisions have been made or released on that suggestion.
While fixing the subway may be wishful thinking for many New Yorkers, millions of whom use the extensive subway system, thousands of others' lives will change once arrest warrants and cannabis-related crimes are expunged.
“These convictions are not keeping us safe,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez who has expressed a desire to ensure that the industry does not get taken over by big business but rather that “New Yorkers will build their own local cannabis industry.”
New York’s legalization plan seeks to establish an equitable licensing system, preserve communities and build local business, protect public health, right historic wrongs including automatic expungement of criminal records relating to cannabis infractions, and ensure public safety.
The cannabis community is elated.
“The legal cannabis industry is moving East! Can't wait until residents in my home city and state are free to grow their own healing flowers,” said High Times cultivation editor Danny Danko on Facebook.