Capitol Confidential: COVID-19 suspends legislative sessions across the United States

Coronavirus distance and shelter orders halt most legislative actions

Last week, state-issued social exclusion and shelter-in-place orders effectively ended the 2020 legislative session in several state capitals. Some state legislatures that meet regularly are now focusing on bills that pertain to state operations and dealing with COVID-19 responses.

The leafly will continue to cover national and state developments in cannabis politics, but most cannabis-related bills have been tabled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The weekly cadence of the Capitol Secret is moving to a monthly schedule to provide coverage of major political events.

The New York Budget, April 1, Cannabis may not be legalized this year

While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed his call for the legalization of cannabis in his state budget, his critics last week urged him to focus instead on bills that mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Some lawmakers, however, released a revised legalization bill last week, which could be included in the state budget, though many supporters doubt that will happen.

California cannabis tax abatement lawyers want to collect online signature

Advocates of a proposed ballot measure in California to reduce cannabis taxes have asked state officials if they can take their bid online because of the coronavirus social-distancing effort. California issued a statewide shelter-in-place order last week.

The proposed initiative would reduce taxes on medical and adult-use cannabis in California and would require 50 percent tax revenue to support the development of the industry. However, in the moment of marijuana, Kyle Jaeger writes: “This particular campaign has not been taken very seriously by the broader reform community, which has raised doubts that its signature-gathering movement will be successful regardless of the current health crisis.”

The online-signature effort is backed by filmmaker Kevin Smith, as well as Jay and Silent Bob actor Jason Mewes.

Quick win, state-wise

Colorado: There isn’t a ton of exciting cannabis legislation in the pipeline this year – unless you count industrial access to “preventative crop loss measures” – but Colorado legislators last week concluded this legislative session. It is expected most of the work in the immediate future will focus on COVID-19 related activities and its wider impacts.

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Mike Brennan
Mike Brennan is Editor of Michigan Marijuana Report (mimarijuanareport) a cannabis, hemp and CBD news portal website for Michigan and the Great Lakes States. He has been a professional reporter and editor since 1981.

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