Coronavirus to force cannabis legalization to a halt along the East Coast

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Dealing with COVID-19 is taking priority over virtually everything else, including cannabis laws

Countrywide public health is compromised by the outbreak of coronavirus; therefore, many state governments have made drastic decisions to stop the virus from spreading. States along the East Coast have been making efforts to finally have legal recreational marijuana within its borders, but now those efforts have been crushed by the pandemic. Several state legislatures from the East Coast have shut down temporarily, with a high concentration of cases in New York, and some of them were already reviewing measures for the legalization of adult-use.

In the middle of the negative economic effects caused by stopped business and people confined at home, these potential markets could generate billions of dollars in business opportunities and an extra income to the governments. However, this can’t happen now because of COVID-19. For instance, the recreational marijuana initiative that was pending in Ohio could be affected as prolonged disruption of normal life could make it very difficult to collect the required signatures. In Nebraska, lawmakers were reviewing a marijuana petition, but, sadly, it was suspended last week. New York is still the big question mark given that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been clear about one of his priorities being marijuana legalization. New York has the potential for a multibillion-dollar market for adult-use cannabis, but now it will need to wait until things are somehow back to normal.

The environment is not the best for the lawmakers. New York Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris stated that marijuana legalization might need to be postponed while lawmakers deal with budget issues due to coronavirus. Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCann’s director of public and regulatory affairs told Marijuana Business Daily that “cannabis is too controversial for the governor to get in his budget under the circumstances.”