As the countdown to the end of this legislative session in New York State enters the final stages, plans to legalize recreational marijuana have been revived with the possibility of a vote on the matter this week.
While momentum to get recreational weed legal appeared to fade once lawmakers in New Jersey announced that they were giving up on trying to use legislative means to end prohibition, advocates in the Empire State are brimming with optimism that lawmakers may have reached a deal and the bill will pass.
Democrats in both the Assembly and Senate held conferences last week in a bid to discuss the fine print of the legislation. Sources close to those who attended these meetings reported that the conferences went well and that the bill may have enough support to sail through.
On Saturday last week, the staff of the legislative leaders in Senate and the Assembly met those from Gov. Cuomo’s office to talk about the final language of the bill which will be put before lawmakers within the last days of the legislative session.
Earlier on Wednesday last week, the senate version of the legalization bill was given the “same as” status indicating that its language was identical to the language of the version in the Assembly. This is an indicator that both chambers agreed on the wording of the bill, and that is an early indicator of possible success when a vote is called.
The speaker of the Assembly, Carl Heastie (D), revealed on Friday that the Democrats hadn’t yet decided on whether to bring the matter to the floor of the House but added that the bill had support among the Democratic members of the chamber. Despite the optimism, analysts think that the bill is still short by two votes in the state Senate.
Sensing that the bill may soon be up for a vote, key state officials have been urging legislators and the governor to include a given list of provisions in the final text of the bill.
Letitia James (D), the State Attorney General wrote that the bill should include provisions to expunge all previous convictions for non-violent marijuana crimes.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) also pushed for expungement and added that the bill legalizing recreational marijuana should aim at empowering local businesses rather than big corporations.
The district attorneys of Albany County and Manhattan jointly wrote an op-ed urging lawmakers to end what they called “staggering inequities” and also promote public safety by enacting the bill to legalize recreational marijuana.
The legislative session will end on Wednesday, so lawmakers have a narrow window within which to schedule a vote in both chambers.
Industry watchers have been wondering whether marijuana industry players like SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) and Redfund Capital Corp. (CSE: LOAN) (OTCQB: PNNRF) (FRA: O3X4) experience as much tension when a major decision is due as what the people of New York State are experiencing in these final days of the legislative session.
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