By Angel Underwood
Major decisions regarding recreational marijuana and vaping are about to go down in the Empire State.
With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s back-to-back Pot Summit Oct. 17, and the anticipated New York State Appellate Division’s ruling on the statewide vape ban Oct. 18, Senator Liz Kruger remains confident in her legislation S.1527, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).
“I don’t believe the governor’s action on vaping will have a big impact either way on MRTA,” Krueger told the New York Daily Weed Report.
The Manhattan senator said discussions surrounding vaping products were held this past session, and will continue in the coming session, but one has nothing to do with the other.
“The troubles in the vaping industry do not change any of the underlying reasons for ending marijuana prohibition and moving to a regulated and taxed market for adult-use,” she added.
As for the vape health scare, Krueger said she is not surprised.
“These recent issues are on top of what I see as the fundamental problem with vaping, which is that it is targeted at getting kids addicted to tobacco products,” she said. “Vaping companies are part of an alarming trend I’ve noticed in several industries, where companies decide that existing rules don’t apply to them and they can do whatever they want.”
That storyline never ends well, she added.
While a recent Forbes report suggests legalizing cannabis will cancel out all vape concerns, Senator Krueger said the ideal solution for adult-use cannabis is a uniform legalization policy across the United States, with strong regulations for safety and consumer information.
“But I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to
happen,” she said. “In the meantime, states like New York can and should be
taking those steps, creating the necessary oversight bodies to get cannabis out
of the black market and into the light with carefully crafted regulations.”
However, Krueger did say the issues around vaping, particularly the potential link to black market THC products, is a perfect example of one of the reasons we need to end prohibition.
“As things stand, lots of people are using marijuana
and there is absolutely no consumer protection,” she said. “If we bring these
products into the light, consumers will know where they come from, what the
ingredients are, and who is liable if there are any problems.”
While the future of both vaping and adult-use cannabis remain uncertain, one thing is for sure, according to the senator.
“The problems of vaping are growing out of the absence of enough regulation for health and safety, and the dangers of black-market products,” Krueger added. “The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will help protect people from dangerous products by subjecting them to regulation and oversight.”