The state of New Jersey will be including the legalization of marijuana in next month’s ballot, giving residents a chance to vote in favor of or against this reform. Marijuana Business Daily reported that this move can push New York to make the same move.
New York is one of the states that have been considering the legalization of adult-use cannabis, alongside New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. NJ’s ballot initiative, if proven successful, can greatly influence NY’s decision regarding marijuana. According to New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Scott Rudder, the success of NJ’s reform “will be the final hurdle for New York, Pennsylvania, and surrounding states.”
Cannabis attorney Bridget Hill-Zayat has the same opinion. The Hoban Law Group lawyer said, “It’s going to motivate the surrounding states for sure.”
Marijuana Business Daily noted that New York will be most influenced by this potential progress, especially as Governor Andrew Como has been contemplating this move for a while. Cuomo even held an inaugural meeting of Northeast governors last year, which seeks to start the planning of a regional strategy for marijuana legalization.
PA Governor Tom Wolf, NJ Governor Phil Murphy, and CT Governor Ned Lamont joined the meeting. Rhode Island also sent representatives to attend the conference.
At the time of the meeting, NY and NJ were leading the marijuana reform race. As Cuomo mulled on the decision and waited for the spring 2020 budget bill, NY legalization was pushed back because of the current coronavirus pandemic, which became the top priority of the state.
NJ’s Ballot Initiative
It seems that NJ made significant advances when it comes to legalizing cannabis. While lawmakers failed to reach an agreement as to whether or not to legalize the plant, they gave voters the power to decide.
Reports believe that legalization is likely to come voting day, especially as more NJ residents favor legalization. Around 68% support this move, while only 26% are against it. Only 6% are unsure, as per a July 2020 poll conducted by DKC Analytics cited by Marijuana Business Daily.
The Role of the Pandemic
With the positive expectation regarding the NJ legalization, experts are also more optimistic about NJ’s decisions, and the pandemic plays a vital role in this possibility. A report by Cairn’s New York Business noted that should NJ legalize recreational weed, NY residents may opt to cross state borders in order to obtain cannabis products.
As NY is hit hard by the pandemic in terms of health and economy, “the last thing the cash-strapped city and state need is residents making the quick trip across the Hudson to spend their money in Hoboken or Jersey City.”
DataTrek Research co-founder Jessica Rabe anticipates a boost in NJ’s revenues. Rabe noted that NY will realize that it is “missing out on tax revenues from sales.”
Various experts on cannabis agree, saying that legalizations will be made easier by the pandemic, given that state funds are hit by this public health issue.
Meanwhile, Marijuana Business Daily noted that should NY decide to legalize, its program could launch close to NJ’s, which is expected in late 2021.