Gov. Cuomo announces plan to legalize recreational marijuana

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MIDTOWN, Manhattan — Governor Cuomo is outlining an ambitious agenda for the first 100 days of his next term Monday.

Among his top 20 priorities: an end to cash bail and the prosecution of pot.

"The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and well-off and one for everyone else. And that is going to end. We must also end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let's legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all," Governor Cuomo said.

The move is almost a complete turn around for Cuomo who referred to marijuana as a gateway drug as recently as 2017.

But legalizing pot is just one of the lofty goals the Governor outlined Monday.

Among his other priorities: tax cuts for the middle class, revised education spending, and increased infrastructure spending to create 500,000 new jobs.

Cuomo says he isn't planning a presidential campaign for 2020, but sounded like a man with a larger vision during the speech.

The Governor took shots at President Trump while making comparisons to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the last New York governor to win the White House.

"FDR was called upon to govern in the midst of a great economic crisis that threatened the well-being of the nation. Well today my friends we are called to govern at a time of great social crisis that also threatens the nation," he said.

While the governor's plan lacks some details on how he'll accomplish the ambitious goals over the first 100 days, he made one thing abundantly clear: he plans to assert his authority over the MTA and plans to fund improvements with congestion pricing.

"This year we have to take the bull by the horns with the MTA. We have to pass a dedicated funding stream so the MTA has the funding it needs, congestion pricing is the only alternative," the governor said.

The Governor seemed fully aware of the lofty goals he put forth for his first 100 days, but with Democrats fully in control in Albany, he's optimistic he can get it done and he called on the legislature to make it happen.

"We have a Democratic Senate, a Democratic assembly. Now is the time to make this change, there are no more excuses my friends. Now is the time to stand up and lead," Gov. Cuomo said.

He says now is the time for New York to make the democratic vision a reality across the state.

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