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New York May Introduce Cannabis Legalization in April 2021

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According to New York Governor’s cannabis advisor, the state is expected to propose cannabis legalization in next year’s state budget.

In an interview with David Culver of Canopy Growth Corp., Assistant Counsel Axel Bernabe stated that reform is highly needed in New York. This is especially prevalent considering how many other states surrounding New York have already made progress on their own cannabis legislation. Vermont recently passed a recreational legalization bill earlier this month, and New Jersey has a strong cannabis measure on this year’s ballot that could open up many possibilities. “We’re watching New Jersey closely. We’ve always been confident that we get to this before New Jersey, so if they pass the referendum they still have to have agreement between the governor the Senate over there,” Bernabe said. “We’re working on this. We’re going to reintroduce this in our budget in January. We think we can get it done by April 1.”

Although other states have beat New York to the punch, Bernabe feels confident that what they planned for the state will pave the foundation for many other states for years to come. “How do you regulate that? What are the parameters around it? What’s permissible? What’s not? We dug deep. I don’t know that we’ll get everything right. We had to make some calls.”

Included in this proposal would include specific rules for CBD-based products, such as drinks and food. Bernabe elaborated in the interview, addressing how the team is looking at trying to find a balance between consumer protection and allowing people to use the products for health and wellness purposes.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced recreational cannabis in a budget proposal earlier this year in January as well, detailing the many benefits that legalization could bring to the state. “Legalize adult-use cannabis,” Cuomo said during his budget speech, according to Marijuana Moment. “I believe it is best done in the budget. I said that last year. I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget.”

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