NY: Democrats Approve Marijuana Legalization Platform

Photo Credit: Sam Hodgson

New York Democrats approved a resolution at their party’s convention on Wednesday that supports the legalization of marijuana.

Nassau County Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs, the former head of the party, said on Thursday that the formal statement is a reflection of society and local elected officials. “It’s the sense of the party,” he said. “It’s not a mandate to candidates.”

Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie agreed that the view of New Yorkers on marijuana is evolving and said there was polling to indicate the evolution.

He said the Assembly Democrats have discusses marijuana legalization, but argued it needed to be considered in the larger context that included criminal justice reforms. Heastie said the state should also address the people in jail or have criminal records due to marijuana crimes.

If adopted, Heastie said revenue from marijuana legalization should go to the general fund. He added that there should be some targeted spending in communities impacted by marijuana crimes.

Last month, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon came out in favor of marijuana legalization. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has had evolving views on marijuana, as he previously called it a gateway drug and this year he championed a study on legalization.