Cannabis and the New York Constitutional Convention

By: Troy Smit

(New York, NY) Empire State NORML would like to clarify some of the myths that we're hearing perpetuated about a ballot question appearing before the voters on November 7th.

On Election Day, New York voters will consider Ballot Proposal 1 (“Prop 1”) the question “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?”. Every 20 years, New Yorkers get to vote on whether or not to have a constitutional convention, which is one of the ways to amend our state Constitution. If Prop 1 is approved, a process begins of electing delegates, holding the convention and voting on proposed constitutional amendments and finally submitting amendments for voter approval in 2019 (a flowchart of the process is at  

It's come to our attention that people have been lead to believe that by voting yes on Prop 1, they’re voting to change the laws regarding cannabis, including legalizing its responsible adult use. This is simply untrue and a gross oversimplification of one of the possibilities of holding a constitutional convention. What is true is that if Prop 1 passes, the delegates elected next year will hold the tremendous power to amend our state's Constitution. It’s possible that the delegates could pass an amendment to authorize initiatives and referenda, or an amendment that taxes and regulates cannabis, as Colorado voters did in 2012.

The truth of the matter is that a yes vote for Prop 1 is a vote to hold a constitutional convention in New York. Nothing more, nothing less.