Coronavirus Outbreak Could Postpone Cannabis Legalization On East Coast, Other States


The nationwide COVID-19 pandemic could interfere with cannabis legalization efforts along the East Coast and other states, raising further issues about the launch of the lucrative recreational marijuana and medical marijuana markets in New York and other states.

Those potential markets, when launched, could create billions of dollars in new business opportunities for many cannabis operations. But the outlook for legalization remains murky in these states.

Coronavirus as of now forced some state legislatures to temporarily shut down, including ones on the East Coast still weighing recreational marijuana authorization.

Also, a few cannabis voting initiatives across the country, including Ohio, could suffer particularly if a drawn out interruption of everyday lives forestalls petition drives from gathering enough signatures ahead of deadlines.

A medical marijuana drive in Nebraska, for instance, was suspended a week ago.

New York, a potential multibillion-dollar adult-use cannabis market, remains the greatest question mark.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo said cannabis legitimization remains a priority in his budget,  experts said it looks more likely legalization could be postponed or defeated as a result of coronavirus.

Key administrators, for example, New York Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens, demonstrated should be delayed as officials manage more pressing spending issues in the midst of the new limitations precipitated by the coronavirus.

“I think New York is still especially uncertain,” Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCann’s executive of public and regulatory affairs, told Marijuana Business Daily.

Unruh wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily that he’s heard that Cuomo will include cannabis legalization for his spending bill and furthermore that “cannabis is too controversial for the governor to get in his budget under the circumstances.”

Rob DiPisa, co-chair of the cannabis law group at Cole Schotz in New Jersey, had a similar take on the uncertainty of recreational use legitimization in New York.


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