As long as the federal government refuses to lift cannabis prohibition, it will be up to states to devise sensible regulations for the cultivation, production, sale and use of the plant. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month took the lead in doing just that by inviting governors from neighboring Connecticut and New Jersey to work together to create consistent cannabis regulations among the three states. They will host an initial meeting on Oct. 17 to begin developing a regional plan, which may include medical and adult use cannabis legalization.
Gov. Cuomo should be applauded for the initiative and creative problem solving that he and the governors of Connecticut and New Jersey have shown in advancing cannabis legislation. Cannabis legislation is a complicated issue with many tricky nuances to navigate, making the Governor’s effort all the more welcome.
Right now, in the U.S., the cannabis industry exists in a fragmented state environment where there is no defined federal oversight. Cannabis companies are forced to accommodate 33 sets of laws across the states which have lifted prohibition in one form or another. For example, various states have differing requirements for packaging, labeling, production and cultivation, which has a major — and negative — impact on business operations. Not to mention the fact that product must be produced in the same state it is sold in and cannot cross state lines. No other industry has to deal with this level of state-specific regulations.