New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted a Governors' Regional Cannabis & Vaping Summit in his Manhattan office where he was joined by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
Along with the four democratic governors, representatives from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Colorado were also on hand.
The aim of the daylong summit, held Oct. 17, 2019, was to brainstorm about how to regulate vaping and the movement of cannabis between the four northeastern states.
"The goal is to collaborate with one another, to share resources and think collectively as we're all trying to figure this out," Gov. Cuomo said in his opening remarks. "To the extent regional coordination makes sense and is politically practicable, we want to do that."
At the moment, tens of thousands of residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut regularly flock to neighboring Massachusetts to buy legal weed at several shops, which are located within 15 miles of the New York border.
Some of the shops in western Massachusetts report more than half of their customers come from New York.
Northeastern states moving toward legalization
New Jersey and New York both came close to legalizing marijuana earlier this year, but efforts to approve legislation fell apart in both states.
Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf recently announced his support for legalizing recreational marijuana.
Lamont, the governor of Connecticut, which currently has medical cannabis, said the differing marijuana laws among the U.S. states were unconscionable. "This patchwork quilt of regulations makes no sense at all."
New Jersey’s Governor Murphy agreed. "Doing things in an intelligent, coordinated, harmonious way is good for the entirety of not just our states but our residents."
Along with Massachusetts, Vermont and Canada also have legalized marijuana in some form and are easily accessible from the east coast. Although crossing the Canadian border with cannabis, or even being part of the industry, has become a dicey issue.
Vaping crisis also discussed
The New York City summit also dealt with the vaping crisis as the number of lung-related illnesses continues to rise across the country.
By the end of the summit, the four states agreed to a series of broad principles that will jointly guide them as they seek to better regulate marijuana and vaping.