Governor Cuomo Announces He Will Visit States That Have Legalized Cannabis Programs to Help Inform His Efforts to Pass Legislation as Part of Budget

Builds on Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Initiatives Previously Announced With Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts

Governor Cuomo: “I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked.”

Screenshot 2020-02-25 09.14.01NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he will visit states that have legalized cannabis programs to learn more about their programs to help inform his efforts to pass similar legislation in the state budget this year. This builds on the regional cannabis regulation and vaping initiatives previously announced with Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to establish a set of core principles on issues related to market regulation and empowerment; public health; public safety and enforcement; and vaping best practices.

VIDEO of the Governor’s announcement is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Governor Cuomo: One other point on marijuana, which is another issue that is in this budget. I said yesterday it is a major priority. I also want to make sure that it is done correctly, and you look at states that have legalized marijuana, many of them have generated more questions. One of those issues that everybody has goals, we want a goal of social equity, we want to make sure young people can’t get it, et cetera. We want to make sure there are advantages to communities that have been oppressed. But, then you look at the aftermath and many of those goals haven’t been met, right?

So, I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. Has the social equity piece worked? Has the law enforcement piece worked? So that we have the best bill and the best system when we pass it, and I want to pass it by April 1. […]

The conclusion is we want to coordinate our laws the best we can. In other words, you don’t want New York competing with New Jersey, you don’t want New York competing with Connecticut. You don’t want people driving to New Jersey, because they can get more in New Jersey, or a higher percentage in New Jersey, or they have a different age in New Jersey, or a lower tax rate. So, it’s regional coordination. But then if you look at what has happened in states that have done it, about 11 states have legalized marijuana. Everybody talks about the goals, we want a social equity component, we want to make sure it’s policed. They have all these goals, but many of the programs once they’ve been implemented and they went back and looked, they didn’t meet those goals.

You know, our political debate now is all about “I have a plan.” Yeah, everybody has a plan, but can you actually get it done and does it turn out the way you planned it, right? That’s the big question, and that’s where government usually gets into trouble. So, I want to make sure we learn from them. We have the regional coordination piece. We are the first state that has really been looking through that lens. I now literally want to go to California, Illinois, Massachusetts, sit with them, what was your plan, how did it work out, what did you learn, what can we incorporate.

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