The Democratic Party of New York is officially on board with legalizing cannabis.
“The New York State Democratic Committee supports the legalization of marijuana which should be regulated and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol,” reads a resolution adopted by delegates at the party’s convention on Wednesday.
Legalization “is an important social justice issue,” the measure says. “Millions of peaceful Americans have been arrested, imprisoned, fined, or otherwise needlessly criminalized and stigmatized, potentially for life, because of their use of marijuana.”
The move comes amid a whirlwind of cannabis developments in New York over the past month.
Last week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), for example, directed the NYPD to stop arresting people smoking marijuana in public, and is moving to draft a plan to prepare the city for eventual statewide legalization. Days earlier, he announced that the NYPD will “overhaul and reform” its marijuana enforcement policies.
I'm announcing today that the NYPD will overhaul its marijuana enforcement policies in the next 30 days. We must end unnecessary arrests and end disparity in enforcement.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 15, 2018
As a result, the NYPD commissioner formed a working group to study potential changes.
De Blasio, despite that fact that he remains, for now, personally opposed to ending cannabis prohibition, concedes that legalization is “inevitable.”
The legalization of marijuana in New York State is likely inevitable. Our city has to get rules in place before this happens and be prepared for the public safety, public health and financial impact. pic.twitter.com/5y40VlYhjG
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 22, 2018
Meanwhile, Manhattan’s district attorney announced he will decline to prosecute marijuana possession and smoking cases, and his office released a related report on cannabis policy. Similarly, Brooklyn’s district attorney announced a similar move.
New York City’s comptroller released an analysis finding that legalization could generate $436 million annually in new state tax revenue from legal marijuana sales, and the city could bring in as much as $335 million.
Brooklyn’s borough president is on board with legalization, too.
It’s high time that our state, and our nation, decriminalize and legalize #marijuana. Those of us longtime advocates are ready and waiting to move this #criminaljustice reform over the finish line once and for all. #LegalizeIt.
— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) April 20, 2018
The local moves come after the New York Times published an analysis finding that racially disproportionate arrest rates for marijuana have persisted in the city following previous incremental enforcement reforms enacted by de Blasio.
Letitia James, the city’s public advocate — who is running for state attorney general — said current cannabis enforcement policies “continue to hold communities of color back.”
If New York truly wants to be a leader on criminal justice reform, in economic justice, in ensuring a fair and equal state for all, and in combatting decades-old policies that continue to hold communities of color back, then it is past time that we legalize marijuana here. pic.twitter.com/is9SIarusj
— NYC Public Advocate (@NYCPA) April 17, 2018
Elsewhere, Buffalo’s mayor is considering municipal marijuana reforms.
A poll this month found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 63%-32%.
Read the full marijuana resolution adopted by New York Democrats below:
Kyle Jaeger contributed reporting to this story.