Earlier this year, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut failed to pass legislation for legalized recreational marijuana despite what appeared to be overwhelming support for such measures. As we discussed here, early optimism gave way to legislative frustration as representatives struggled to put together bills sufficient to garner enough votes. Additionally, as it became apparent that New Jersey was going to fall short in its legalization efforts, support for legalization in surrounding states waned. Without a neighboring state to take the initial step, the complicated socio-economic issues provided plenty of political cover for legislators to sidestep the issue for at least another year, and that led to a domino effect of failed legalization efforts.
Recognizing how legalization by any state in the tightly clustered Northeast will impact the surrounding states, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently stated that he plans to discuss legalization efforts with both Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey. According to a recent Washington Times article, during an interview on Long Island News Radio, Gov. Cuomo said “Jersey’s talking about it, New York’s talking about it, Connecticut’s been talking about it. For one state to do it, it makes no sense if the neighboring state has a totally different policy…” He makes a good point. The proximity of the states in the Northeast and the number of people that cross state lines on a daily basis creates unique issues for legalization efforts, and a consistent uniform policy among all states would certainly be beneficial. The issue is not going away, so it makes sense to start discussing how the states could possibly work in unison to ensure that the next legislative sessions see the dominos tip in favor of legalization.
With the large population concentration in the Northeast, this continues to be an interesting and important topic for the entire cannabis industry. We will certainly be keeping an eye out for further developments, so be sure to check back in on our blog for additional information.