Assemblyman Steve Katz, the pro-pot Republican lawmaker, wrote an op-ed today for City & State and calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to support legislation to legalize medical marijuana—rather than doing it through a 1980 law already on the books.
He started his piece by writing: “’The times they are a-changin,’ wrote Bob Dylan. This observation has never been more true in regard to the United States’s approach to marijuana than it has been over the past month.
“While I believe that the governor’s move is a step in the right direction, the vague details of his plan merely opens the door,” Katz wrote. “The Legislature can then carry this torch to expand the plan more constructively and responsibly to alleviate far more New Yorkers’ suffering.”
Katz, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, also offered support for a bill by liberal Senate Democrat Liz Krueger that would legalize marijuana in New York for recreational purposes.
“As for full-fledged legalization of marijuana, State Sen. Liz Krueger has put forth a plan for New York to legalize marijuana modeled on Colorado’s approach,” Katz continued. “While the bill is still in an initial draft, I appreciate the senator’s effort. We simply cannot continue to ignore the reality that there is a black market for marijuana. Because it is not taxed by the state, New York is missing out on a tremendous amount of revenue.”
Katz now has a financial interest in the marijuana business. Updated: A spokesman said Katz does not yet have any financial interests in the industry.
Katz has had a change of heart after he was ticketed for marijuana possession and speeding on the Thruway last March. He changed his stance on medical marijuana after voting against in 2012.