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Cuomo: Legalized Pot May Not Have Enough Political Support

Hans Pennink
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in an interview Friday on “Connections with Evan Dawson” on WXXI, cast doubt on the future of legalized marijuana in New York.

The governor said he doesn’t believe the votes are there in the Legislature to pass a plan to allow legal cannabis for adults in New York. And he said he will not “twist arms” to convince lawmakers to vote for the proposal. 

“I support it,” Cuomo said. “But if they are starting to suggest that I need to twist arms, then that’s a bad sign. Because arm-twisting doesn’t work. And it means they don’t have the political support.”

Cuomo acknowledged that he used his political capital to convince key lawmakers to vote for gay marriage in 2011, and he used his influence to achieve gun control measures in 2013. But he said he does not believe it will work in this instance.

The governor said he “fought” to keep the proposal in the state budget, which might have made it easier politically for lawmakers on the fence about legalizing marijuana to vote yes. But he said the Legislature did not agree with that tactic.

A spokesman for the state Senate, Gary Ginsberg, said talks about the proposal are ongoing. 

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.