Gov. Cuomo plans cross-country tour for marijuana legalization research

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his push to legalize adult use of marijuana -- but before working on a proposal, he's planning to do research in states where it is already legal.

Cuomo vowed to legalize recreational marijuana after a push for it fell apart last year amid disagreements over who should be allowed to sell it, and where the revenue would go.

As part of his renewed efforts, Cuomo announced he plans to go on a cross-country tour of states that have legalized marijuana to learn what has and hasn't worked for their programs.

"I'm going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions," says Cuomo.

Cuomo also said New York wants to work with neighboring states that have either already legalized marijuana or are trying to. His goal is to coordinate tax rates, minimum age purchase and sale limits in order to minimize competition.

Cuomo's push comes as New York faces a $6 billion budget gap. He said legalized marijuana could pour about $300 million a year in tax revenue into the state.

Boris Yagudayev, of Long Island for Marijuana Legalization, says the governor's tour will bolster his push to legalize marijuana.

"He's looking at what these other states are doing. He's being proactive about it and he's learning from their lessons," says Yagudayev. "And he's bringing it back to our state, which I think is the responsible thing to do."

Cuomo says he hopes to pass marijuana legalization as part of the state budget, which is due April 1.

Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational pot so far.

 

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