Cannabis advocates in Albany are looking to stage a state constitutional convention in order to get weed legalization through the New York legislature. According to the New York Daily News, who broke the story earlier this morning, the group Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019 has “formed a political action committee and is planning a public information campaign to convince New Yorkers to vote this fall in favor of holding a constitutional convention.”
At this point, while medical marijuana is legal in New York, staging a constitutional convention vote could be the swiftest way to get recreational legalization laws written into place.
“We believe that going through a convention process is the only viable and reasonable alternative to the Legislature,” said Jerome Dewald, a 66-year-old venture capitalist from Manhattan who is leading the effort.
Dewald feels that traditional paths to legalization could take up to five years or more. As a cannabis investor, Dewald has stakes in cannabis ventures all around the country, but New York looks primed to be his number one market.
“We simply don’t believe that (legislators) will achieve any objectively reasonable result in less than five years,” Dewald said.
Playing a smart game, the advocate group has plans to make appearances at festivals, concerts, and gatherings all summer long. Their prime target? Millennials. Fall 2017 will see a demographic-specific TV ad campaign launch.
As it stands under current state law, calling a constitutional convention vote must be proposed to voters at least once every 20 years. If voters vote yes, a constitution convention can then be called in 2019, where a vote to legalize recreational cannabis will take place.
“I sincerely have no idea what kind of momentum this proposal would have,” said state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who has sponsored legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
Only time will tell, but it’s about high time New York jumped on the bandwagon and legalized recreationally. In a state where liberal policies fly off the shelf, it’s no wonder that this legislative attempt hasn’t occurred before now. In fact, given the massive weed tax laws around the country, it’s just fiscally and socially irresponsible not to legalize cannabis.