Governors Extol the Benefits of Weed In Their State Addresses
Shouting legalization success from their pulpits.
It’s that time of the year when our honorable state governors deliver their state-of-the-state messages, most of which predictably highlight the wonderful things they've done for their constituents and the economic progress they achieved since being elected.
This year, several governors are touting cannabis reform among their achievements, alluding to them not only as political and social shifts of significant proportions but also practically as having added to their states’ tax revenue and subtracted from their jail cells.
Pointing out the mainstream status achieved by cannabis as witnessed by its inclusion among traditional national issues such as taxes, education and infrastructure, Marijuana Moment laid out what each state governor had to say about the newly minted member of this prestigious political club.
Let’s have a look
In New Jersey, where adult-use marijuana sales have yet to launch, the newly reelected Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said he is expecting cannabis to contribute to an economic boom.
“Many jobs await in the cannabis industry ready to take off,” Murphy said, adding to his January 2021 inaugural address in which he noted that “businesses in the new cannabis industry that we are setting up in the name of social justice” are part of efforts to “continue growing the innovation economy that will power our future and make us a model for the nation and the world.”
New Mexico’s Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) talked about cannabis’ potential as the state expands its economic footprint into every single community. “Legal cannabis is going to create thousands of jobs and serious tax revenue for local governments to support local services in every corner of our state.”
New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) released her State of the State book earlier this month, which included the creation of a $200-million fund to help promote equity and economic justice in the cannabis industry.
Hochul stressed that although the market is expected to generate billions of dollars, it’s important to “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.”
In his final State of the Commonwealth address in early January, now former-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) talked about the criminal justice implications of his state’s move to legalize marijuana.
“We also worked closely with you to make sure our criminal justice system reflects the Virginia that we are today. Too often, our modern-day punishments and practices have their roots in a more discriminatory and unfair past,” Northam told state legislators. “That’s why we’ve made marijuana use legal.”
Meanwhile, the new Republican governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, said that while he's not interested in re-criminalizing marijuana possession, which became legal in July 2021, he'll be busy with other work before he jumps into the task of creating a market for commercial sales and production.