The four states represented have all either attempted or flirted with cannabis legalization, without yet achieving it:
- In March, New Jersey lawmakers called off a vote on legislation that was backed by Gov. Murphy and passed by the State Assembly when too few state senators signed on to support it. The proposal included an expedited record expungement process and incentives for disadvantaged folks to enter the industry. As Murphy and his allies frantically negotiated with senators behind the scenes, lawmakers blamed a rushed process ahead of the planned vote for its cancellation.
- Then in June, New York lawmakers failed to advance legislation because of disputes over how cannabis tax revenues would be allocated to communities that suffer disparate drug enforcement. Legislators also cited lukewarm enthusiasm on Cuomo’s part, and the legislature’s inability to pass legalization through the state budget process earlier in the year.
- Meanwhile in Connecticut, three related legalization bills that included expungement and community reinvestment measures passed out of state legislative committees. But each lacked the support of enough lawmakers to go to a vote. In May, lawmakers discussed the possibility of putting the issue to voters on a popular ballot in 2020. Newly-elected Governor Lamont has called legalization one of his priorities.
- In Pennsylvania, in the same week as the governors’ summit, legislators proposed a comprehensive legalization bill. The move came just weeks after Governor Wolf finally voiced support for legalization, having opposed it for years. The bill would allow automatic expungement of certain cannabis convictions, and provide interest-free loans to disadvantaged cannabis entrepreneurs.