New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top cannabis advisor says that marijuana legalization legislation will be introduced again through the state budget in January 2021. The objective of this will be to enact reform by April 2021. The advisor also previewed the state regulations for CBD products derived from hemp, including food items and infused drinks.
In an interview with David Culver from Canopy Growth Corp, Axel Bernabe, assistant counsel to the governor, discussed how the effort to legalize cannabis in surrounding states only emphasized the need for reform in New York. He stated that the legislation the governor plans to introduce, which prioritizes economic development and social equity, would serve as a model for other states.
Bernabe acknowledged that New Jersey may legalize cannabis before the state of New York as New Jersey voters are scheduled to approve a legalization referendum next month. He also noted that New York officials were monitoring New Jersey closely. In addition, Bernabe states that state officials were working on reintroducing the measure in the January budget and planned to get it done by April 1 next year.
Bernabe’s statements come after a top senator from New Jersey indicated that that state’s lawmakers could pass the enacting measure as soon as the first week of November. While Gov. Cuomo has included legalization in his budget proposal for the past two years, negotiations have routinely been held up in legislature, with issues such as how marijuana tax revenue is to be allocated preventing the closing of the deal.
Bernabe admits to being excited about the economic development and public safety components of the administration’s upcoming legalization proposal. He spoke about ensuring social equity for communities that have been historically targeted by the war on drugs and added that some changes would be made from this year’s version, taking into consideration other states’ experiences.
In the interview, Bernabe also discussed the pending regulations for cannabinoids derived from hemp. He stated that the administration was “putting the final tweaks” on policies for CBD products and that the policies would take effect at the start of 2021. He also said that the administration would likely be establishing regulations for cannabinoid-infused food items and drinks.
He remarked that the administration was looking into every product class and trying to find a balance between consumer protection and allowing people to continue to obtain, to a great extent, what they’re already using for wellness and health.
Additionally, the New York Agriculture Department will allow hemp businesses to continue their operations under the existing program until September 30, 2021, since the congressional continuing rider signed by President Donald Trump extends the hemp farm bill pilot program (2014) until September 2021.
Many companies are poised for explosive growth once the CBD sector is properly regulated at both the state and federal levels. One of the entities to watch in this sector is Pure Extract Technologies Corp., a Canadian-based, plant-extraction company that has recently taken on a new functional mushrooms vertical.
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