Proverbs 29:2: “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
As negotiations regarding New York state’s long-overdue budget drag on with no end in sight, Gov. Kathy Hochul has taken executive action to promote two industries that are dear to her heart. Unfortunately for the rest of us, those two industries are the marijuana industry and the abortion industry.
On April 18, Gov. Hochul kicked off a public education campaign called “Why Buy Legal New York.” The stated purpose of the campaign is to “[promote] safer, informed, legal purchases of cannabis from licensed dispensaries” in New York. Gov. Hochul commented, “‘As we continue to build a healthier and more equitable cannabis market, I am proud to launch this important public education campaign…’”
No, that wasn’t a misprint. Our governor is promoting the sale of marijuana.
The Governor’s pro-marijuana campaign may be partially motivated by self-interest. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law in March 2021 that legalized marijuana for recreational use, the state has been slow to approve marijuana dispensaries. According to Politico, as of February 2023, state-approved marijuana dispensaries were “vastly outnumbered by illicit competitors that have sprouted all over [New York City] since the state legalized weed for adults nearly two years ago. New Yorkers are buying weed from behind the counter of bodegas, shopping in unlicensed stores and ordering from underground delivery services.” As PBS has noted, the costs involved in producing state-regulated marijuana make it pricier than its unregulated counterpart. Given that state-regulated marijuana is less accessible and more expensive than unregulated marijuana, it should be no surprise that many users continue to purchase the drug illicitly. Unlike the sale of state-regulated marijuana, the sale of unregulated marijuana does not generate tax revenue. Thus, despite the fact that marijuana is a dangerous drug and is banned by the United States government, the state has a financial interest in promoting the sale of regulated marijuana.
Gov. Hochul’s announcement asserts that “New York’s Cannabis Law prioritizes public health [and] is built on the foundational principles of public safety, social justice, and equitable economic development.” This is nonsense. In fact, marijuana endangers the health of people who use it and jeopardizes public safety because of the presence of impaired drivers on New York’s roadways. Just as the state of New York should not promote or profit from casino gambling, the state should not promote or profit from marijuana sales.
One day after announcing her pro-marijuana campaign, Gov. Hochul boasted that her administration had released more than $1.68 million in grants for abortion facilities. New York’s Securing Reproductive Health Centers Program has reportedly provided taxpayer-funded grants for “security enhancements and improvements” at 51 abortion facilities around the state. (Of course, the Governor has displayed no interest at all in providing security updates for pro-life pregnancy centers that have been threatened, vandalized, and subjected to arson attacks since Roe v. Wade was overturned.) This funding is separate and distinct from New York’s Abortion Provider Support Fund, which serves to “expand capacity and ensure access for patients seeking abortion care in New York.” Gov. Hochul commented, “‘As extremists in the courts and in other states continue their attack on our rights, New York will always fight to support providers and all patients who need care.’”
It is bad enough that abortion and marijuana are legal in New York. What’s worse, though, is that we have a governor who encourages and promotes them. And she’s using our tax dollars to do it.
 While New York law has legalized the use of marijuana, the drug remains illegal under federal law.