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Without the ability to gather in person, marijuana reform efforts have stalled in multiple states across the country.
If you want to fully understand how the coronavirus has impacted marijuana legalization, look at New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed adult-use marijuana would come to the state this year, with reform occurring through the state budget. Cuomo’s proposal was given further momentum as regional states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania announced they would work with New York on the shared goal of introducing recreational marijuana to the Northeast.
Cuomo’s vision was derailed by the novel coronavirus. The state has justifiably dedicated their attention and resources toward the public health crisis. Lawmakers like State Sen. Liz Krueger, among the biggest supporters of adult-use legalization, told reporters she no longer sees the legislation as “realistic” in the current moment. State legislators believe ending prohibition should be done the right way and wait until the coronavirus outbreak is over.
“Our immediate priority should be passing a budget extender to keep the government running while ensuring the state has the necessary resources to address the coronavirus crisis,” Assemblyman Robert Smullen wrote in a column. “The potential legalization of marijuana and other unrelated policy issues should be legislated outside of the state budget when they can receive full and proper consideration.”