New York Senator Liz Krueger will introduce a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York state, she said on Sunday, hoping the recent passage of medical marijuana laws will help give the bill momentum.
Ms. Krueger, a Democrat representing Manhattan for more than a decade, said that in the legislative session beginning in January, she will fight for a bill modeled partly on cannabis legalization laws that recently went into effect in Washington and Colorado.
“I will push for taxation and regulation of marijuana,” she said at an unrelated campaign rally for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I continue to work with experts around the country and to evaluate laws and regulations being put into place now.”
Ms. Krueger introduced a similar bill last session, but it was largely considered a liberal pipe dream, unlikely to pass a Republican-controlled Senate in a state that hadn’t yet legalized medical marijuana.
But in June the New York state Legislature passed a law that legalized medical marijuana use in some cases, and a breakaway faction of Senate Democrats that had worked as a majority coalition with the GOP said they will merge with mainline Senate Democrats, raising the likelihood that both the New York State Assembly and Senate will be run by Democrats next year.
“I see more hope in a Democratic majority for… pieces of legislation that weren’t going anywhere,” Ms. Krueger said.
She added that she has made amendments to her bill since last session after observing what was working and what wasn’t in the states where marijuana is legal.
“I knew we needed to move medical marijuana into law before people would focus on the bigger question – tax and regulation,” she said. “So I think my legislative proposal fits in very nicely with what the state has already committed to move forward with.”