Colorado Reaches Marijuana Industry Diversity Goal Earlier Than Expected

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Governors across the United States have taken the opportunity to tout marijuana reform achievements as part of their annual state of the state addresses and budget requests this month.

From New York to South Dakota, comments and proposals from state leaders show how cannabis has become more mainstream and discussed in high-profile venues alongside more traditional tariffs such as taxes, education and infrastructure.

It’s also part of a growing theme, as governors have increasingly brought up marijuana politics in state address addresses each year to kick off the new year as the legalization movement unfolds. spreads.

Here’s a look at what governors are saying about marijuana policy in 2022:

New Jersey

While adult-use marijuana retail sales have yet to kick off in New Jersey after voters approved a 2020 legalization referendum, the state’s top leader said in his speech on the state of the state that he expects an economic windfall.

“Many jobs are waiting in the cannabis industry ready to take off,” Gov. Phil Murphy (R) said.

The governor also said separately in his second inaugural address this month that “the new cannabis industry companies we’re building in the name of social justice” are part of efforts to “continue to grow the economy.” of innovation that will fuel our future and make us a model for the nation and the world.

As the state prepares to implement legal cannabis sales, Murphy said late last year that he was prepared to give adults the right to grow marijuana for personal use, even if this is not currently enshrined in law.

New Mexico

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (R) spoke here in the state of the state address about the economic potential of the marijuana industry under the legalization bill she signed into law last year. last.

“We are expanding our economic footprint in every community,” the governor said in her state of the state address. “Legal cannabis will create thousands of jobs and significant tax revenue for local governments to support local services in every corner of our state.”

New York

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) released a state-of-the-state book earlier this month that called for the creation of a $200 million public-private fund to specifically help to promote social equity in the state’s burgeoning marijuana market.

The governor said that although cannabis business licenses have yet to be approved since the law was legalized last year, the market is expected to generate billions of dollars and it is important to “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, especially those from historically marginalized communities.”

This proposal was also cited in Hochul’s executive budget, which was released last week. The budget also estimates that New York should generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.

The Executive Budget Briefing Book recounts how Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has “prioritized getting New York’s cannabis industry up and running” since marijuana was legalized under her predecessor the last year. This includes appointing key regulators who have “created and implemented a comprehensive regulatory framework”.

Rhode Island

The governor of Rhode Island has included a proposal to legalize marijuana as part of his annual budget plan – the second time he has done so. And gradually, it also added new language to provide for automatic cannabis suppressions in the state.

Gov. Dan McKee (D) released his request for fiscal year 2023 on Thursday, calling for adult use to be legalized as lawmakers say they are separately approaching a deal on enacting the reform. It appears that a pending disagreement between the governor and lawmakers over which body should regulate the program, however, remains unresolved based on the new budget proposal.

Generally, McKee’s plan would allow adults 21 and older to buy and own up to one ounce of cannabis, though it doesn’t offer a home-cultivation option. Adults could also store up to five ounces of marijuana in a secure warehouse in their primary residence.

“The governor recommends creating a strictly regulated legal market for adult-use cannabis in the state,” reads a summary. “This proposal would create a weight-based excise tax on the cultivation of marijuana, an additional 10% excise tax on retail sales, and would also apply a sales tax to cannabis transactions.”

South Dakota

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (right) is not a fan of legalizing adult use, going so far as to fund a lawsuit against a 2020 voter-approved reform initiative that ultimately led to a court decision overturning the law. His office even suggested that the activists behind the successful legalization campaign should face the legal costs of the case.

However, she seems to recognize the popularity of the issue and has recently tried to join in the implementation of the separate law on the legalization of medical cannabis that voters also approved, as she did in her speech on the state of the state this month.

“I take the health of our fellow citizens seriously. I do not take these decisions lightly. And when we create a new policy, we will do everything we can to get it right from day one,” Noem said. “Our state’s medical cannabis program is an example of that.”

“It was launched on schedule according to the schedule adopted by the voters of South Dakota,” she said. “I know there will be a debate on this program this session. My goal is to ensure that South Dakota has the safest, most responsible, and best-managed medical cannabis program in the country.

Noem attempted to get the Legislature to approve a bill to delay implementation of the medical cannabis program for another year, but although he cleared the House, negotiators were unable to to reach an agreement with the Senate in conference, delivering a defeat to the governor.

In response, his office began exploring a compromise last year, with a proposal that came out of his administration to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, limit the number of plants patients can grow to three and prohibit anyone under 21 from qualifying. for medical marijuana.

Proponents weren’t keen on the proposal, and now they’re taking a two-track approach to enacting broader legalization through legislation and a ballot.

Virginia

In his final State of the Commonwealth address this month, now a former governor. Ralph Northam (D) spoke about the criminal justice implications of his state’s decision to legalize marijuana last year.

“We have also worked closely with you to ensure that our criminal justice system reflects the Virginia we are today. Too often our modern punishments and practices have their roots in a more discriminatory and unjust past,” he said. “That’s why we legalized the use of marijuana.”

He also thanked lawmakers who championed the reform “for their work on this policy, which is complicated, but important.”

Meanwhile, new Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said recently that while he’s not interested in recriminalizing possession of marijuana, which became legal in the state last summer, but he believes that there is “still work to do” before creating a market for commercial sales and production.

Bipartisan Pennsylvania senators introduce bill to allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own plants

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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