Because the mere decriminalization has been a very important goal among cannabis smokers, lawmakers don’t feel the need to go any further for now
Recreational marijuana in New York. For those of us who are not from New York, it is difficult to understand why cannabis has not been legalized yet in the most important and lively city in the world.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that recreational cannabis will be approved during this Legislature in June although it seems more difficult than expected.
The main problem is that legalization means much more than decriminalization. It means allowing the commercial sale of marijuana and other THC products that can be very potent.
Mayor Bill de Blasio already warned against opening the door to a version of cannabis similar to tobacco. In fact, many cigarette companies see cannabis as their future. But so far nobody has talked about a scheme to limit a legal industry.
Even though Cuomo’s proposal establishes legal cannabis-smoking age at 21, the truth is that legalization could facilitate the access of teenagers to the drug. Researchers think that THC in high doses could have severe long-term effects on them.
It has to be considered that teenager brain is developing. This fact has been an important issue behind New York’s most recent criminal justice reforms.
In fact the state PTA, Medical Society and most law enforcement pros don’t want legalization. In addition, most suburban lawmakers aren’t ready to accept it. It seems a fight between suburban and minority urban lawmakers.
For example, Long Island and Hudson Valley leaders want legalization for their counties but the city politicians are scared of their communities suffering the adverse effects.
In Albany and Trenton, lawmakers have tried to get votes combining legalization with the expungement of cannabis-related records and the vows to convince that minorities obtain a share of legal cannabis revenue and legal business. But so far this is not working out.
All these matters have been very frustrating for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who made of legalization one of his main campaign promises in 2017.
Because the mere decriminalization has been a very important goal among cannabis smokers, it seems that lawmakers don’t feel the need to go any further for now.