The movement for marijuana legalization has never quite caught fire in New York. But then along came a political newcomer who provided a spark.
Cynthia Nixon's pointed racial justice argument was echoed a week later by Public Advocate Letitia James, an ally of Governor Cuomo.
Senator Charles Schumer declared his support around the same time, even signing a bong. That's not to mention a prominent Republican convert, former House Speaker John Boehner.
But marijuana legalization in New York likely hinges on one man. His position is also evolving.
Longtime opponent Governor Cuomo called for a study on legalization in January. Then after the Nixon video, he hinted he was now siding with supporters, saying entrenched opponents are not dealing with reality.
That reality is that since Washington and Colorado became the first states to approve recreational marijuana in 2012, nine states plus Washington D.C. have followed suit; 29 states have approved medical marijuana. Even more relevant to New York, Vermont has legalized personal use; dispensaries will open in Massachusetts and Canada this summer, and New Jersey is also moving on the issue.
New Yorkers seem to be ready.
A Quinnipiac poll last week found voters statewide support legalizing personal use by almost two to one: 63 percent in favor, just 32 percent opposed. Among those 18 to 34, support skyrockets to 77 percent, versus just 16 percent opposed.
Prominent political supporters now include both U.S. Senators, and the city's Public Advocate, Comptroller and Council Speaker.
But change must run through Albany.
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, a Republican, is a no and even the state's top-ranking Democrats, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins are non-committal, telling us only that they lean yes.
Senator Liz Krueger is Albany's foremost legalization advocate. She's been studying the data for years, fine-tuning a bill that up until now has gone nowhere. In gridlocked Albany, she says Cuomo can tip the scales.
"Now that the governor's clearly messaging differently, there will be a lot more interest from people who privately told me they support the bill, but they couldn't see themselves pushing the envelope for a bill that wasn't going to become law," Krueger said.
Recently, Cuomo compared marijuana to gay marriage, which he championed and coaxed lawmakers into passing into law. Cuomo must now decide if this too is a winning issue, especially when it comes to winning a primary.