Back in October of 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf held the first Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit to discuss the regulation of cannabis consumption for adults. With all four Northeastern governors in favor of cannabis legalization, they sat down and crafted a set of “core principles” on the structure, practices, advertising, and marketing regulations pertaining to legalized cannabis.
These core principles include market regulation and empowerment, public health, public safety and enforcement, and vaping best practices.
The first core principle is market regulation and empowerment. The purpose of this regulation is to focus on social justice initiatives to ensure access to those disproportionately affected by the war on drugs and expedite expungements or pardons surrounding unfair cannabis criminalization. This also means a uniform tax structure for cannabis and cannabis-related products across the four states. The problems within banking in the cannabis industries are also addressed within this category.
To ensure that reducing the cost of cannabis production doesn’t lead to inexpensive yet potent products, the Governors decided on strict advertising policies and product safety testing intended to limit youth exposure. Such principles prohibit advertising products that could appeal to younger audiences, like those of flavored cannabis products, as well as completely restricting the sale of cannabis to those over the age of 21.
This principle is also focused on limiting cannabis possession amount and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, as well as allowing for the collection and distribution of cannabis consumption data for educational purposes.
Cannabis-related impairment is another big issue, so highway safety and improvement options are also being discussed. The Governors agreed upon uniform standards for blood or saliva tests, as well as training for drug recognition experts. This principle also includes tackling the illicit cannabis market, as well as any illegal actions within the legal market.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania all agreed to regulate the entire vaping industry within their states by banning or regulating the sale of flavored vapes and increasing enforcement to prevent minors from purchasing these products. Vaping best practices also mean regulation of temperature control and implementing product standards to ensure that only safe ingredients are being used in vape cartridges.
Unfortunately, since this meeting, in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo has said that it is not likely we will see adult-use legalization in New York this year.
But whenever legalization comes to the Northeast in full force, we can only hope that these conversations will encourage a proper regulatory framework across a united front–at least in one part of the US.
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