New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pushing for cannabis legalization for quite some time now, with both his 2019 and 2020 efforts ultimately ending in failure.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legalization efforts from Cuomo have been forced to the backburner. In April, Cuomo noted legalization to be one of the most complicated issues he has faced.
During a recent interview with David Culver of Canopy Growth, however, Cuomo’s Assistant Counsel of Health, Alex Bernabe, expressed plans to re-introduce legalization plans.
Bernabe, who is known as Cuomo’s top cannabis advisor, said a legalization bill will be included in the state budget in January 2021.
He also spoke about legalization efforts in surrounding states, and Cuomo’s plan to introduce this legislation as a “model” for prioritizing social equity and economic development.
“I would say equity pervades the entirety of the bill,” he stated. “It pervades it on the licensing front, it’s on the revenue side and the use of funds and providing capital and loans.”
Andrew Cuomo is also calling for new rules regarding the manufacturing and sales of CBD, including in food and drinks. Currently, state regulations prohibit the sale of CBD-infused food and beverages.
Bernabe said the proposed guidelines will include maximum dose per serving labeling and warnings about THC content in products. He further noted that the state has followed Florida’s model in regards to hemp while crafting their own policies.
“We’re excited because we’ve taken the bull by the horns so speak. I think people recognize there are a lot of sectors of product lines that haven’t really had some thorough regulation attached to them,” he stated. “You can pick a number of them but probably the most high-profile or obvious ones are something like vapes — so CBD or other cannabinoid extract vapes. Flower, even some tinctures, and foods and beverages.”
Check out the full interview here, and stay tuned for updates as the Cuomo administration polishes its rules and regulations.