Legalizing marijuana should be accomplished in the state budget agreement this year or may not get done at all in 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday in a radio interview.
"The best way to get it done is to get it done in the budget," Cuomo said on WAMC. "The budget is more than just numbers; it's the single-most important piece of legislation that's passed during the year."
Questions remain over the specifics of marijuana legalization and whether lawmakers can reconcile differences over how to spend revenue, how communities affected by drug laws would benefit and traffic safety concerns.
"I think if they get it done, it will be in the budget and if it's not in the budget, it's not going to get done," Cuomo said.
A Siena College poll last week found New York voters support the move, but suburban voters are split over legalization.
Cuomo made a similar declaration last year after he included the marijuana proposal.
Ultimately lawmakers couldn't agree to a marijuana legalization bill and instead approved a decriminalization measure that expunged prior marijuana-related convictions.
While potentially giving Cuomo more leverage over the shape of the legislation, lawmakers could either take or leave the proposal under consideration if included in a non-budgetary Article 7 bill.
Cuomo this year also wants to coorindate with neighboring states in the northeast on taxation policy for retail cannabis sales.