Senate and Assembly Agriculture Chairs React to Cannabis Legalization Proposal

Albany, NY...Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced a proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis in New York and create an Office of Cannabis Management, which would oversee the new adult-use program and the state’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Following Wednesday’s announcement, Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (AD-123), Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees, released the following statements.

“I fully support legalizing cannabis for adult use and believe it should be a key part of our discussion on COVID-19 recovery strategies,” said Senator Hinchey. “We know that the benefits of legalization are far-reaching: from revenue generation to job creation and expanded markets for farmers to new business opportunities, including in the industrialized hemp industry. Any proposals surrounding legalization must also address the devastating impacts that cannabis-related arrests and incarceration have had on Black and Brown communities and make sure that licenses stay with local small farmers as well as companies who have previously invested in New York. We want an equitable and profitable cannabis industry, with public safety measures built-in, that truly delivers on all of these critical needs. I’m confident we can get there.”

“I have supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis in NYS for many years. It’s long overdue as many other states, including several of our neighbors, have seen the value of a safe, well-regulated cannabis program,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “This is a tremendous opportunity to create a new supply chain of growers, processors, and retail operators to meet the existing consumer demand. I am especially encouraged by the Governor’s focus on social equity, making sure that communities that were impacted the most by cannabis prohibition are supported through investments and licensing opportunities. There must also be a focus on small local growers in traditional agricultural communities who would benefit from an equitable approach to this new industry.” 

Senator Michelle Hinchey represents the 46th Senate District, which includes Greene and Montgomery Counties and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster Counties. Senator Hinchey serves as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee and sits on the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Energy and Telecommunications, Environmental Conservation, and Local Government Committees.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo represents the 123rd Assembly District, which includes the City of Binghamton and the Towns of Union and Vestal. Assemblywoman Lupardo is Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and serves on the following Committees: Economic Development, Higher Education, Transportation, and Rules.