New York State’s Opportunity for Voter-Driven Change

Jay Lauren is leading the charge in New York State to effect meaningful change in NY’s laws.

New York

In order to bring a voter measure on marijuana reform, a bigger change must take place: allowing New York citizens to bring measures and petitions onto state voting ballots. There’s apathy and opposition in Albany to allow voters a direct voice and have a say in the laws that govern them. Marijuana Media fully endorses and supports Cannabis4NY’s efforts. The following is some background, a message, and a call to action from the Executive Director of Cannabis4NY:


New York State is one of the last states that does not allow its citizens to bring proposed legislation directly to the voters by circulating petitions. It’s a system based on the British monarch’s distrust of and disdain for the unwashed masses. It’s a system that trusts only elected representatives, who were at that time the only educated classes. The rest of our country has since moved on, but New York is stuck in the past with very limited means to directly assert authority over our state government.

If the rest of the country had the same system, the movement to legalize marijuana would have gone nowhere. We’ve won our victories by bringing petitions directly to the people, something New Yorkers are prevented from doing. But this November 7, NY has a once-every-20-year chance when it can change that system.

This is truly the moment when the movement to end marijuana prohibition can shine for a purpose much greater than our own. There is no other political force in the US at this moment that can drive out the Yes votes on Prop 1 this Nov 7 besides our own. Yes on Prop 1 means all our issues, allowing the citizenry of NY State to vote on adult use, reforming medical marijuana laws, creating a vigorous industrial hemp sector, to ending the criminalization of blacks and minorities caused by enforcement  – this can all be on a ballot in just 2 years!  It is an unbelievable opportunity and it’s real. But it’s not just about cannabis, it’s about transforming NY and bringing it into the 21st century. It is historic in the true sense of the word.

Naturally, our legislators and all the entrenched political forces want nothing to do with this. Our government in Albany has failed to put in place the normal mechanisms for educating our voters about it.  So very few people know about it, and it’s been placed on the back of the ballot, too.

We need our media, our mouthpieces, our celebrities, to stand up and make some noise.  Our constituency will march in the snow, fight through a hurricane, swim across a raging river, to get out and vote to end the war on marijuana. But today in NY they are asleep.  We have less than 25 days left.  If we fail, we are locked into this system until 2037.

New York has 27 congressmen and two very influential senators in Washington DC. Yes on Prop 1 Nov 7 opens the door for a full program of cannabis reform in NY by Nov 2019.  But it’s much bigger than just NY or just cannabis. It’s an issue of fundamental rights in NY and nationwide.


Get involved. Reach out at 212-365-8451 and volunteer to help wake up New York. We need you, and all of New York needs you, to do just a little bit from where you stand to help us move the ball forward. We have less than 25 days left. This is the moment when the movement to end marijuana prohibition – a worldwide community dedicated to the greater good – can truly shine for a purpose much greater than our own. There is no other political force that can drive out as many Yes votes on Prop 1 in New York this Nov 7 as we can.  Please help us in New York.

Jerome Dewald, Executive Director, Cannabis4NY – email at: