Cuomo changes tune, plans to move on legalizing recreational pot

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he'll move by early next year to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in New York state.

"Let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all," the governor said Monday, despite years of firm opposition.

Cuomo announced the 180-degree turn during a speech in Manhattan in which he laid out his legislative agenda for next year. Cuomo says marijuana convictions unfairly target minorities and the poor.

VIDEO: Gov. Cuomo outlines agenda for new Legislature

The governor proposed taxing marijuana sales, which officials say could raise as much as $1.3 billion a year.

Cuomo's change of tune on recreational marijuana use gained steam last year when two other neighboring states approved it and his Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon called for legalization. He requested that lawmakers take up debate on marijuana legalization when they return to Albany next month. 

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