Andrew Cuomo

Poll: What should New York state’s Cannabis policy be?

A Katz/Shutterstock

Gov. Andrew Cuomo convened the state’s first industrial hemp summit on Tuesday where lawmakers and state officials talked about what a boost the crop could be to the state’s economy. The crop can be used to make clothing, building materials, biofuels and more, but since hemp is made of a variety of cannabis, its research and distribution is tightly watched by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

That’s just the latest front of the ongoing, complicated and controversial area of cannabis policy in the Empire State. New York legalized medical marijuana in 2014, but despite December changes like allowing chronic pain as a qualifying condition, the state has one of the most limited programs in the nation. Prescribing doctors have to go through a training course and patients aren’t allowed to smoke the drug. The few companies allowed to run dispensaries in the state have complained of slow uptake, while patients have complained of difficult access to far-flung dispensaries.

While there are pushes to expand the program further, Cuomo remains opposed to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. There is some hope though, as admitted former smoker Cuomo used to be against medical marijuana too. Plus, California has legalized it, and Cuomo often tries to compete with our Pacific Coast frenemy for the title of most-progressive state.

We want to know what our readers think. Answer our poll and we’ll report the responses in an upcoming First Read.

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