Governor Cuomo: "[T]omorrow, actually, I'm going to the State of Connecticut to meet with some of my team members and the Governor of Connecticut, and I want to talk to Connecticut, and then I want to talk to Jersey, about having a regional symmetry on vaping products and marijuana."
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo announced he will travel to Connecticut tomorrow to meet with Governor Ned Lamont to begin discussing a regional strategy on e-cigarettes and marijuana. Governor Cuomo made the announcement this morning during an interview with Jay Oliver on Long Island News Radio.
AUDIO of the Governor's comments is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor's comments are available below:
Governor Cuomo: Yeah, look, we are doing more than any state in the nation and I'm proud of it. We have the federal government, hundreds of cases all across the country, kids dying, federal government is doing absolutely nothing. They're doing their normal political shuffle. The President says, I'm going to ban flavored vaping, next week he says, never mind, basically. Democrats are pointing at the Republicans, Republicans are pointing at the Democrats. I'd like to see the Democrats, frankly - I'm a Democrat - I'd like to see the Democrats in the House and the Senate pass a darn bill that actually does something. But this is, it's an epidemic, it's a public health crisis, and it's a scandal, all wrapped into one. These vaping companies, a lot of them are old tobacco companies. And we did serious restraints on what you could do with cigarettes, so they now moved to vaping, and these kids, old Italian expression: we grow too soon old, too late smart. These kids don't even know what they're doing - 12, 13, 14 years old, they're vaping. Best case, they're just getting nicotine and they're going to be addicted to nicotine for the rest of their life and they're going to have to deal with that; worst case, they don't know what they're smoking. They literally don't know what they're smoking, and they have these compounds that they put in these liquids that are tested by no one, there's no clearance, many of them come from overseas. They smoke it, and they get sick and lung illnesses and some of them drop dead, and they have no idea, and government isn't doing anything, so what we did in New York is we said, "No flavored e-cigarettes." Because they sell these flavors - bubble gum, Scooby Doo, cotton candy - they're clearly marketing to the youth, which was made illegal for cigarettes, by the way. So, we banned the flavored e-cigarettes and vaping.
I want to pass a law in January that says you can't advertise to kids, and tomorrow actually, I'm going to the State of Connecticut to meet with some of my team members and the Governor of Connecticut, and I want to talk to Connecticut, and then I want to talk to Jersey, about having a regional symmetry on vaping products and marijuana. You know, everyone's talking about legalizing marijuana: Jersey's talking about; New York's talking about it; Connecticut has been talking about it. For one state to do it, it makes no sense if the neighboring state has a totally different policy, because you then just incentivize people to drive over the border and buy it there, so if we come up with a marijuana policy, but Jersey has a different policy, so then you just drive to New Jersey and you buy it and you smoke it on the way home or you go to Connecticut. So, and marijuana, when you start to discuss how to legalize marijuana, you, it moves into the vaping space, because a lot of the marijuana products can be vaped. When you start saying, "I want to outlaw flavored cigarettes," well how about gummy bear marijuana products, right? So, the two are connected, and we are serious in this state about legalizing recreational use of marijuana, but it has to be done right and protected and I want to start with Connecticut and see if we, if there's not an openness to come up with common parameters on a policy. Otherwise, it's counterproductive, as I said before, people drive across the border, they buy a better product, or they buy a cheaper product, or they buy marijuana with more THC, or they buy marijuana that comes in a different form, and now you have people driving and possibly smoking marijuana at the same time, so I do that tomorrow. But the federal government isn't doing anything - it's like anything else. I just got into a point in my head, where I said, "Look if we don't do it, and we don't make progress, no one else is going to help us, because we're on our own," which is a little frightening but it's a little liberating, Jay.