The governors of three states marked the end of 2021 by touting marijuana legalization accomplishments they signed into law this year.
While federal prohibition didn’t end, there were a number of reforms that were implemented across the country, including adult-use legalization in a record number of states. The governors of Connecticut, New Mexico and New Jersey said that was reason to celebrate as they looked back on the last day of the year on Friday.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) specifically highlighted the work of a social equity council as the state’s recreational market takes off. He said the body’s “primary function is to ensure equitable access to CT’s budding adult-use cannabis industry and to offset some of the damage caused by the War on Drugs.”
The Social Equity Council’s primary function is to ensure equitable access to CT’s budding adult-use cannabis industry and to offset some of the damage caused by the War on Drugs. That’s why I made it a priority to kickoff the council’s first ever meeting in August. pic.twitter.com/mcQN7CXfLC
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) December 31, 2021
“That’s why I made it a priority to kickoff the council’s first ever meeting in August,” Lamont tweeted.
At that meeting, the 15-person group approved a list of geographic areas disproportionately impacted by the drug war, which will be used to determine eligibility for social equity business licenses.
In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) again emphasized the “limitless” economic potential of the state’s new cannabis market that is being created after she signed legalization into law this year.
The potential for New Mexico's economy is limitless. By legalizing cannabis, we are helping to create over 11,000 jobs in our state. We're building an economy that works for all New Mexicans.
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@Michelle4NM) December 31, 2021
“By legalizing cannabis, we are helping to create over 11,000 jobs in our state,” she wrote. “We’re building an economy that works for all New Mexicans.”
In August, the state began accepting applications for businesses interested in becoming licensed marijuana producers.
Adults 21 and older are currently able to possess up to two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six mature plants for personal use under a law that was enacted earlier this year. Commercial sales are expected to launch in 2022.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) also included his state’s move to enact legalization following a voter-approved referendum in a list of 2021 accomplishments.
📈Signed historic economic recovery legislation⁰💰Made the first full pension payment in 25 years
👛Expanded the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to 80,000 more families
🌱Legalized adult-use cannabis
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 31, 2021
The state is still in the process of implementing legalization following voter approval of the reform last November, but home cultivation is not currently permitted under the conforming legislation that Murphy signed earlier this year. He said in October, however, that he’s open to giving adults the right to cultivate marijuana for personal use.
Meanwhile, as 2021 comes to a close, a number of states and cities across the country are set to implement new marijuana policy changes that take effect on January 1.
From the launch of retail cannabis sales in Montana to whole-flower medical marijuana becoming available in Louisiana, there are a variety of new policies that advocates, businesses and lawmakers will see go into effect starting on Saturday.
Lawmakers and advocates are also eagerly anticipating further reforms in 2022, with numerous bills being pre-filed and ballot initiative campaigns underway.
But for now, the three governors are taking a beat to reflect on the success of this year.
Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.