A new plan being rolled out by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would make sure that, if legal cannabis passes, social equity is a top priority when it comes to funding.
On February 17, Cuomo announced his new plans for legalization, including how he would spend $100 million in revenue. According to Spectrum News 1, that revenue would be brought in from legal sales and put aside for a social equity fund, which would specifically provide help and support to those unfairly impacted by the War on Drugs. The money would go to programs like adult education, mental health services, community banking, housing support, after-school services, substance misuse treatment and more.
“As we work to reimagine, rebuild and reopen New York, we’re taking every opportunity to address and correct decades of institutional wrongs to build back better than ever before,” Cuomo said. “We know that you cannot overcome a problem without first admitting there is one. Our comprehensive approach to legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also enables us to directly support the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs by creating equity and jobs at every level, in every community in our great state.”
Cuomo also plans to scale back penalties for selling drugs, making it a misdemeanor to sell cannabis to someone under 21 years old, instead of a felony. The only felony for selling cannabis on the black market would be those who sell more than 16 ounces of concentrates. He also hopes to legalize cannabis delivery, and allow local cities to opt out of delivery if they don’t want to be included.If New York passes a recreational cannabis bill, the state will be a landmark in prioritizing social justice and positive, social equity and the funding for these programs will help build a solid future.