States to Hold Summit with Key Law Enforcement, State Health and Policy Officials in October to Develop Guidelines and Principles for Vaping and Legalization of Cannabis
Governor Cuomo: "So in concept, many people agree on the legalization of recreational marijuana, but like in many cases the devil's going to be in the details. And how you do it will determine the success of the program. And doing that collectively and regionally makes sense. And we're going to have a meeting October 17 where we'll put together regional partners and try to talk that through. My goal is to have a proposal by January that I can make in my State of the State to my New York State legislature. And hopefully, we can come up with some common premises for the program.... And I believe we're going to find many common paths to a better future."
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Governor Ned Lamont announced a strategic partnership between New York and Connecticut to develop a uniform regional approach to policies on e-cigarettes and legal cannabis. On October 17, officials from law enforcement, state health officials and policy makers representing both states will hold a summit to develop guidelines and principles that will benefit the two states' vaping oversight and cannabis legalization and help keep New York and Connecticut residents safe.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you very much. It is my pleasure to be here and first I want to thank the Governor very much for his hospitability and his entire team for preparing for today. I also want to make sure I communicate how impress I was with the Governor's proficiency on the water. He has a mastery of nautical affairs rarely seen in an elected official. He was really impressive in advising the captain on how to catch fish, which was, and successful at it. And was very kind, not to mention on our fishing trip that his fish was actually a little bit bigger than my fish, but decorum caused the Governor not to mention that.
I am very excited about the relationship with not just the state but with Governor Lamont. He is here to make things better. And he is willing to take the risk and take the chance to make change which many elected officials are not willing to do. You know everybody want in theory, in abstract, we want change. We want to improve. Yes, but they do not actually want to do the work required to make that happen. It's not easy to make change. But the Governor obviously brings great intelligence and energy and creativity, and he is about getting it done. And that is the common link between us.
These are special opportunities to be in elected office. And the people put trust in you and our obligation is to do our best every day to maximize that opportunity. And I think we can do more together than working alone. Lord knows we have problems facing us that rise on a daily basis that nobody has thought about before. And it is going to take all of us if we are going to make a difference. We don't have, frankly in my opinion, a federal government that is providing leadership on these issues. We are getting out of Washington a lot of confusion and a lot of debate. Basically, they are saying to the states you are on your own.
And that is liberating on one level. So if we are on our own, let's hook our boats together and see if we can find our way through this storm. The number of issues that face both Connecticut and New York as neighbors, the Governor mentioned them, but right at the top are the transportation issues. Metro North is vital to New York. It is also vital to Connecticut. We are investing in Metro North. We want to make it better. We want to do it with Connecticut. And I think there are a lot of opportunities there in terms of cybersecurity, environmental issues, emergency management - which is a whole new field for all of us - with storms like we've never seen before and being able to address those issues. That we can do better together. And the issue of marijuana and legalizing marijuana and vaping. The vaping issue is real and it is frightening.
You have hundreds of people all across this country who have gotten ill. We have about a hundred people in New York State. You have young people who are dying and you have young people who are getting addicted nicotine and they don't even know what they're doing. They were sold this product. Vaping, it's safe, it's fine, and everybody's doing it. Everybody's doing it, it must be fine. All the cool kids are doing it. Yeah, now you have kids who are 12, 13, 14-years-old who are vaping. At best they are getting addicted to nicotine. At worst, they're putting a substance in their body that can kill them.
So what do we do about that? The federal government is doing nothing, what can we do? And what can we do together because it makes no sense to pass one set of rules when they can just drive across the border to Connecticut to have a different set of rules and vice versa. And with that issue with the legalizing of marijuana for recreational use, legalization, which poses the same constellation of issues. How old could the person be to purchase? What's the THC content? What's the taxation rate? What form does the THC get sold in? How do you make sure it doesn't get to young people? How do you make sure the police force is ready to enforce these laws and trained to enforce these laws?
So in concept, many people agree on the legalization of recreational marijuana, but like in many cases the devil's going to be in the details. And how you do it will determine the success of the program. And doing that collectively and regionally makes sense. And we're going to have a meeting October 17 where we'll put together regional partners and try to talk that through. My goal is to have a proposal by January that I can make in my State of the State to my New York State legislature. And hopefully, we can come up with some common premises for the program. We won't agree on everything, but not supposed to. We're supposed to represent the people of our respective states, but the conversation is always good. The discussion is always good. And I believe we're going to find many common paths to a better future.
But I want to thank the Governor and his team very much for the hospitality. Thank you.