New York State Senator Diane Savino says she knows the moment Governor Andrew Cuomo changed his mind on legal weed.
Cuomo was famously so anti-marijuana that as recently as February 2017 he was still pushing the “gateway drug” line. However, at the beginning of August he announced a 20-person working group that will look into the practicalities of legalizing the drug for recreational adult use in the state, a decision that followed a recommendation from a commission that recreational marijuana be legalized.
Savino, one of the four named legislators in the working group, traces the governor’s change of heart back to a conversation she had with him after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was elected in November.
“Murphy said that within his first 100 days in office he was going to do a bunch of things—including adult-use marijuana,” she told me. “I had a conversation with [Cuomo] and said: ‘You’re going to have to start thinking about adult-use marijuana now.’ He said: ‘Why? The Republicans in the Senate will never do it.’ I said: ‘It really doesn’t matter what they think or what anybody else thinks. If Phil Murphy does what he’s said he’s going to do then you’ll have marijuana to the left of you, to the right of you in Massachusetts, and to the north of you in Canada. You can’t stop it.’”