Former New York Knicks power forward Al Harrington and 2012-13 Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith made a surprise visit to the state’s capital on Tuesday to advocate for the statewide legalization of cannabis, just ahead of the end of the legislative session.
Back in April, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), all but assured that New York would pass a bill ahead of June 19th—the final day of the Legislative period. Now, however, his tune has changed, citing a lack of support for the bill in the state Senate.
As a result, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo), the sponsor for New York’s recreational marijuana bill, invited the former Knicks stalwarts to share their “expertise” on the subjects of both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
Al Harrington told the New York Post that the meetings seemed “positive,” but there is still work to be done before the June 19th deadline.
“It’s been very positive,” Harrington said. “You know this is something that they want, but they want to do it the right way.
Harrington also stated that him and Smith pushed for the black communities to be involved in the legislation.
“We feel that it’s very important that we need to have the seat at the table so we can use some of these funds to rebuild our communities,” he added.
Smith and Harrington weren’t chosen as representatives because they’re good at basketball—they’re also noted cannabis connoisseurs.
Harrington is currently the CEO of Viola, a cannabis company that sells flower and vape pens. He’s been vocal about the NBA’s penchant for prescribing opioids over medicinal marijuana.
Smith, who is currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers—the team he won a title with back in 2016, was suspended five games by the league back in 2013 after testing positive for marijuana.
Despite the presence of two New York basketball’s most influential tokers, there has been little movement on the bill since Tuesday.
“There’s just not a lot of conversation happening about it,” Sen. Todd Kaminsky said to Spectrum News.