During his State of the State address in January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the legalization of marijuana in New York one of his top priorities.
"New York has to establish a regulated adult-use cannabis program," he vowed, saying the tax revenue would go to poor communities of color that have been disproportionally hurt by the criminalization of marijuana.
But after a bruising budget battle, Cuomo and the state Legislature left the issue undone as they scrambled to balance the state's books, pass a congestion pricing plan for Manhattan and make reforms to the criminal-justice system.
Advocates will now look to push lawmakers to pass a law to legalize marijuana in New York by the end of the legislative session in mid-June. Opponents, meanwhile, now have more time to mobilize and try to beat it back.
It is unclear which way the debate will fall as New York looks to join 10 other states that have legalized marijuana.
"I believe the budget was the best chance to get marijuana approved this year, but not the only chance," said Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, the bill's sponsor.