New York moved a significant step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, as a study commissioned by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will recommend that the state allow adults to consume marijuana legally, the governor’s health commissioner said on Monday.
The announcement by the commissioner, Howard Zucker, signals a broad turnaround for the administration of Mr. Cuomo, a second-term Democrat who said as recently as last year that marijuana was a “gateway drug.”
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Dr. Zucker said, adding, “we have new facts.”
The findings of the report, which was initialized in January and has not been finalized, could pave the way for New York to join a roster of states that have already legalized the drug, including California, Colorado and Washington.
A senior administration official with knowledge of the governor’s thinking said on Monday that legalization efforts by New Jersey and Massachusetts had helped shift his thinking early this year. “It was no longer ‘if,’” the person said, “but ‘how.’”