The pressure is on in the Tristate area in the race to see which will become the 11th state to legalize cannabis in the U.S.
Lacking votes in the state Senate, NJ lawmakers chose to pull the pending legalization bill from a scheduled vote yesterday. Governor Phil Murphy initially requested to see a bill on his desk in the first 100 days of his administration, yet here we are over 334 days later. Criminal record expungement and distribution of tax revenues are just a few of the key issues still under review. While the NJ legislature may revisit legalization in the state budget before the June 30 deadline, it is more likely the vote will wait until after the November election, since all 80 assembly seats are up for re-election.
Similarly, the Connecticut legislature reviewed a legalization bill on Monday, but unlike New Jersey, the bill was approved to advance by the General Law Committee. The Judiciary Committee votes this Thursday. Social equity provisions and priority to communities impacted by the War on Drugs are the key pillars, however advocates continue to push for home grow, delivery, and on-site social consumption licensing. The General Law Committee also approved a separate bill eliminating the medical certification fee and adding opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition to the medical program. Governor Ned Lamont has indicated support for legalization and is expected to sign a final bill.
Contrary to recent news reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo is no longer confident in ending prohibition through the pending budget bill process, he continues to remark that legalization is still very much in negotiations and clarified that he simply removed the revenue from the budget bill. With the April 1 deadline just five days away, all interested parties are descending on Albany for the final full court press. In fact, there will be a press event at the capitol building in Albany today presenting a united coalition of operators, patients, unions, and advocates, striving to end prohibition and create a regulated cannabis market.