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How New York Marijuana Legalization Efforts Could Be Impacted by Cuomo’s Scandals
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) growing number of scandals in recent weeks over harassment allegations and nursing home death data could leave him with even less political capital to defend his marijuana legalization proposal against a competing reform bill favored by leading lawmakers and activists.
While the governor has pushed the legislature to pass his measure as part of a budget plan, he’s faced pushback from certain members who feel it doesn’t go far enough to promote social equity and that they should advance their own version first before entering into negotiations with the administration.
That was before numerous women came forward accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment and unwanted advances during his time in office. While he’s apologized over certain behavior, he’s denied other claims such as one alleging that he kissed a former aide without consent.
Anti-Marijuana GOP Congressman Asks Virginia Governor to Veto Legalization of ‘Gateway Drug’
A GOP congressman representing Virginia is urging the state’s governor to reject a bill to legalize marijuana that was sent to his desk last month.
Freshman Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) argued that legalization is the wrong move, in part because he subscribes to the theory that cannabis is a “gateway” to other drugs and believes that federal law accurately classifies marijuana as a strictly controlled substance.
Good argued in the Thursday letter that “Not only would efforts to legalize marijuana undermine the rule of law and federal law enforcement, it is also harmful to families. Legalizing recreational use of marijuana, even if limited to adults, will likely expose more children to drug use at young impressionable ages. Marijuana is often the ‘gateway’ drug, and its legalization will increase experimentation with it and other drugs.”
Marijuana Legalization Bill Has ’60-40′ Odds of Passing, Connecticut Governor Says, Adding He’s Open to Home Grow
The governor of Connecticut says he thinks the odds of his marijuana legalization bill passing this session are 60-40—and he’s not ruling out signing the legislation even if it’s amended to allow for home cultivation.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said that while the issue has proven “surprisingly controversial” in the legislature—in part because lawmakers get “a little shaky” when they receive messages from opponents—“I think it’s going to pass.”
The lack of home growing rights is one of several provisions of the governor’s plan that advocates have identified as problematic as they push for reform legislation that more comprehensively addresses social equity.
The governor’s legislation would give existing medical marijuana dispensaries in the state a significant advantage, which could limit the ability of small businesses, and particularly people from communities most impacted by the drug war, to enter the industry.
Colorado Bill Would Require Schools to Store Cannabis-Based Medicines for Student Use
A Colorado bill under consideration by the state Legislature would require schools and school districts to have a policy allowing their employees to store and administer medical cannabis recommended for a student by a doctor.
Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, a Republican from Douglas County, said Senate Bill 21-56 is more important to him than any other legislation he’s sponsoring this session. The seven lawmakers on the Education Committee approved the bill unanimously on February 24, sending it to the Appropriations Committee for review on a yet-to-be-determined date.
“As a person that comes from a community fairly consistent in being opposed to marijuana legalization in Colorado, I’m willing to put my hand up and say I was wrong about cannabis-based medicine,” said Holbert, of Douglas County, who is partnering with Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, on SB-56. “I’m perfectly willing to have conversations with constituents, doubters, to say, ‘You’re wrong. You need to meet these people.’”
D.C. Can Take Steps Toward Legalizing Marijuana Sales Amid Congressional Ban, Feds Conclude
A federal oversight agency has determined that a congressionally enacted spending bill rider that prevents Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales does not preclude local officials from taking procedural steps to prepare for the eventual reform.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), a legalization opponent who’s routinely sponsored the amendment to stop D.C. from spending its own local tax dollars to implement a regulated cannabis market, complained to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2019 after members of the District of Columbia Council introduced a legal sales bill and referred it to committees.
But on Monday, GAO released a letter clarifying that nothing in federal law prevents the city officials from taking such preliminary legislative steps as long as the proposal isn’t actually enacted while the congressional ban stays on the books.