Cannabis legalization in the U.S. states has primarily been led by voter initiatives as all of the states to legalize cannabis commerce have done so through signature petition efforts that put ballot measures before voters. Vermont is the only state to legalize cannabis through the state legislature, but the Green Mountain State has only legalized personal possession and cultivation, no sales are allowed.

It is very big news that New York has just moved a major step towards ending cannabis prohibition as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner stated that a state study will recommend that the Empire State allow adults to legally utilize cannabis. The New York Times reported:

The announcement by the commissioner, Howard Zucker, signals a broad turnaround for the administration of Mr. Cuomo, a second-term Democrat who said as recently as last year that marijuana was a “gateway drug.”

“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons,” Dr. Zucker said, adding, “we have new facts.”

***

Dr. Zucker said that the report on recreational usage was done in consultation with “experts from all across the government,” including specialists in public safety, public health, and economics, including taxation. He said that group had considered a wide range of issues — including the age of allowed use, impaired driving, and production and distribution — and concluded that legal marijuana could be done statewide.

The United States is moving towards ending prohibition federally as we’ve legalized state by state. Many feel that our country really reached a tipping point when California, the world’s fifth-largest economy ended prohibition and adding New York, the globe’s thirteenth-biggest economy, would just add that much more momentum to the political battle to legalize marijuana. Even though Gov. Cuomo may just be responding to his liberal challenger Cynthia Nixon’s progressive cannabis stance, progress begets progress, whether it’s done for altruistic or political reasons.

Canada, with a progressive federal medical policy, has had a head start in the global market and the Great White North is about to take an even bigger lead by legalizing federally. The United States is playing catchup to its northern neighbor and NY joining the marijuana market would help the U.S. somewhat keep pace with Canada.

Keep up to date with the latest at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, this June 24th-25th, just a few months ahead of the implementation of regulated cannabis commerce. Get your tickets now, and be a part of the global fight to legalize freedom, jobs, and revenue. The world is shrinking as the global economy becomes more and more interconnected and cannabis isn’t going to be any different. Canada’s cannabis policy will help move the United States and the U.S. ending the war on cannabis will certainly shake up global cannabis policy.

After Vancouver, the ICBC returns to beautiful Portland, Oregon, on September 27th-28th. Purchase early bird tickets for the Portland ICBC by September 12th to save $200. 

Photo courtesy of Jerry Ferguson via Flickr.