Bad News on Legalization Efforts in New Jersey and New York: Week in Review
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Bad News on Legalization Efforts in New Jersey and New York: Week in Review

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney said he is giving up on the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in the legislature and will instead move ahead with a 2020 ballot initiative.

May 17, 2019

This week, New Jersey’s top lawmaker, Senate President Steve Sweeney, said the state’s cannabis legalization bill has stalled in the legislature, and he will instead put the issue up for voters to decide next year. Legalization efforts may also be in trouble in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo fears that lawmakers don’t have enough votes to pass legislation.

Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.

  • Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed a bill to post the names and records of Nevada’s cannabis retailers online. Sisolak has praised Senate Bill 32 as a major step toward ensuring booming marijuana businesses don’t fall victim to the same type of corruption that once plagued Nevada’s casinos. Read more
  • Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would place almost all of the responsibility for overseeing Nevada’s burgeoning marijuana industry under the thumb of a new, five-member Cannabis Compliance Board with regulatory authority and an associated advisory panel, the Cannabis Advisory Commission. The board, like its model, Nevada’s gold-standard Gaming Control Board, will be responsible for everything from issuing licenses to meting out punishment when businesses deviate from established rules. Read more
  • Ohio: A panel of physicians recommended that the State Medical Board of Ohio vote next month to include anxiety and autism spectrum disorder as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. The committee’s recommendation comes after the Medical Board sought online petitions from the public requesting qualifying conditions to add to the current list of 21 conditions. Read more
  • California: A bill moving through the California Legislature would require cities that ban cannabis stores to permit at least one marijuana retailer for every four bars or restaurants with a liquor license or one for every 10,000 residents, whichever is fewer. Assembly Bill 1356 would mandate 2,200 new cannabis stores throughout the state, more than three times the 631 shops legally operating now, state officials estimate. Read more
  • California lawmakers are also considering a bill that would create state-chartered cannabis banks in the state. Senate Bill 51 would allow private banks or credit unions to apply for a limited-purpose state charter so they can provide depository services to licensed cannabis businesses. Read more
  • Illinois: A key component of a bill that would legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use in Illinois—erasing cannabis-related convictions for potentially hundreds of thousands of people—may violate the state Constitution, according to the group representing county prosecutors statewide. The bill essentially would create legislative pardons, but under the Illinois Constitution, only the governor can issue pardons. Read more
  • Nebraska: The 2020 ballot looks to be the next stop for proponents of medicinal cannabis after a legalization proposal stalled in the Nebraska Legislature on Wednesday. State Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, who introduced Legislative Bill 110, said she doesn’t think she can find enough votes to end a filibuster against her bill. Read more
  • New Jersey: Senate President Steve Sweeney said Tuesday he was giving up on the effort to legalize recreational marijuana through the Legislature and would instead put the issue up for voters to decide next year. Sweeney also said he would move forward with bills to expand the state’s medical cannabis program and expunge existing marijuana convictions. Read more
  • Oregon: The Oregon Senate has approved Senate Bill 582, which authorizes the governor to make agreements related to coordinating and enforcing licensed marijuana-related businesses with other states, in addition to other interstate commerce matters. The bill only takes effect if federal law regarding cannabis is amended to allow for interstate marijuana commerce or the United States Department of Justice issues an opinion or memorandum stating it will allow or tolerate interstate marijuana transfer. Read more
  • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during an interview with Rochester public radio station WXXI that he was “nervous” about lawmakers gathering enough support for marijuana legalization before the end of the legislative session. “The [state] Senate said they supported it and said they had the votes,” Cuomo said. “When they now say, ‘We need the governor to come in to make this happen,’ that's a different tune they are singing.” Read more