NY Governor Wants Region to Work Together on Pot, Vaping

AP
September 25, 2019 - 9:05 am

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's Democratic governor this week urged neighboring states to work together on recreational marijuana policies that also address vaping products.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo planned Wednesday to travel to Connecticut to meet with the state's Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. In interviews Tuesday, Cuomo blamed the federal government for failing to take action and said he also wants to work with New Jersey.

Health officials nationwide are investigating hundreds of cases of serious breathing illnesses in people who use e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. President Donald Trump has proposed a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products, while New York and Michigan have also moved forward on bans of vaping flavors.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts ordered a four-month halt to sales of all vaping products and devices and California health officials urged consumers to stop vaping marijuana or tobacco products as the investigation continues.

The California Department of Public Health also warned against using cannabis products from illegal dispensaries that could be holding tainted oil.

The ailment has sickened at least 530 people and killed nine. Many patients reported vaping THC from marijuana, though health officials have cautioned that some said they only vaped nicotine.

New York's governor said states that neighbor each other, like Connecticut and New York, should make sure they address vaping as they consider stalled efforts to legalize pot.

Attempts to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana have fizzled in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut this year amid pushback from critics concerned about public health and safety. Such efforts have not passed despite support from those states' Democratic governors including Cuomo, who called legalization a top priority for next year.

The New York governor said it doesn't make sense for one of the states to pass a completely different policy than a neighboring state. He said states should look at issues like taxation, THC content and volume.

"You don't want people driving distances to buy marijuana products and then driving back," he said.

Cuomo, who noted many marijuana products can be vaped, said states also need to work together to address the use of flavorings in marijuana vaping products. "You can now buy THC in gummy bear," Cuomo said.