Covid-19 Could Delay Cannabis Legalization in New York and Mexico
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt around the world in almost every key industry. Within the cannabis sector, major industry events have been canceled and cannabis businesses are awaiting confirmation on whether they canthrough regional lockdown measures.
One less discussed aspect of the viral disruption is its potential effects on the cannabis legalization movement and related legislative decisions.
New York’s state budget
For several months now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been championing the state’s budget as an ideal way to pass cannabis legalization measures.
Previous attempts to legalize cannabis through a standalone bill
But this is an increasingly unlikely inclusion, as lawmakers now must rush to agree crucial Covid-19 relief measures before the budget deadline.
“I don’t believe marijuana is going to be negotiated in this budget in the next few days,” State Senator Liz Krueger, the lead sponsor of the cannabis legalization legislation, told
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also told WMHT that he was uncertain of whether cannabis legalization would make it into the budget, but he wouldn’t go so far as to rule it out.
“I can't tell you necessarily what's in, what's out. I think we're all kind of looking at numbers,” Heastie said. “You know, what is the [Medicaid Redesign Team] going to come back with? I think that's kind of where we are. So I can't tell you what's in or out at this point.”
Other state legislatures are facing similar dilemmas. Senate and House lawmakers in Vermont
However, the state legislature has now been
due to concerns over Covid-19. A skeleton staff of lawmakers in the senate this week for a vote to bring in Covid-19 emergency response measures, though it remains uncertain when the state legislature might return to full strength.
Mexico’s legalization put in doubt
For several months, the Mexican legislature has been operating under an April 30 deadline handed down by the country’s supreme court, by which time the nation is
In November 2018, the supreme court justices found in favor of two legal challenges to the country’s prohibition on recreational cannabis use, saying that “the effects caused by marijuana do not justify an absolute prohibition on its consumption,” and dubbing the continued
However, as a part of contingency measures designed to combat the spread of Covid-19, the Mexican senate is to
While multiple senate commissions have approved the proposed legalization bill, the legislation still must face a full vote and be approved by the Chamber of Deputies (Mexico’s lower house) before it can be signed into law by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The senate has asked the judicial power to extend deadlines prescribed to the legislative activities to reflect this suspension, however the supreme court itself
citing Covid-19 concerns until at least April 19.
New Zealand’s medical cannabis scheme
In New Zealand, the country has been gearing up for its September general election, during which the question of legalizing cannabis would also appear on the ballot. Now speculation is being cast on whether the election, and with it the legalization referendum,
Preceding the election, New Zealand’s parliament is due to be formally dissolved on August 12, giving Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern less than five months to announce an alternative election date if necessary. The current government opposition, the National Party, has already
Justice Minister Andrew Little has asked for the Electoral Commission to
New Zealand’s medical cannabis scheme, which was due to launch on April 1, is expected