Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York State seems to suggest that the next push to make recreational marijuana legal in the state could include a ban on smoking marijuana.
During an MSNBC interview on Sunday, the governor was asked whether the recent illnesses linked to vaping adulterated black market cannabis oil had made him to rethink his desire to legalize marijuana in New York State.
He replied that his position hasn’t changed, although his administration isn’t in support of smoking marijuana. He added that there were ways for someone to get their THC fix without having to smoke marijuana.
Cuomo explained that from a public health perspective, he believes that any kind of smoking is dangerous and he wouldn’t encourage it. The governor went on to say that one can legalize marijuana and sell products that contain THC without having to smoke.
From his comments, it wasn’t clear whether the Democratic governor was stating that his next effort to legalize marijuana wouldn’t allow marijuana smoking or he was simply providing administrative advice against smoking.
One wouldn’t be surprised if the governor advocated for the exclusion of smoking marijuana during a fresh attempt at legalizing the substance next year. In 2014, he campaigned to ban smoking marijuana when medical marijuana was legalized. Taking the same position for adult-use marijuana wouldn’t therefore be strange.
At the time medical marijuana was legalized, Cuomo reasoned that banning smoking the substance was a preventive method to keep people from abusing the medical cannabis program.
There would be an uproar among lawmakers if Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed such a position the next time marijuana legalization is discussed by state lawmakers. This is because statistics from other states, such as California, show that dry marijuana flower and concentrates command nearly 70 percent of the legal marijuana market.
Any attempt to ban the smoking of marijuana would therefore be guaranteed to attract opposition from potential consumers, the cannabis industry and pro-marijuana advocates who are strongly in support of civil liberties.
The voice of the marijuana industry seems to carry some weight with Cuomo because in 2014, he worked to ban home cultivation of medical marijuana. This decision was apparently partly because an industry association wrote to him explaining why it wouldn’t be advisable to allow home grows.
However, recreational marijuana is a different thing altogether and it is unlikely that Gov. Cuomo will advocate for a marijuana smoking ban. Instead, his administration could allocate money to public education about the risks of smoking marijuana, and then leave the people to decide whether they smoke it or not.
Analysts think cannabis companies like Geyser Brands Inc. (TSX.V: GYSR) and Grapefruit Boulevard Investments Inc. (OTCQB: IGNG) will just wait and see the contents of the new marijuana legalization bill in New York before making any conclusions about the views of Gov. Cuomo.
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