State Marijuana Legalization Might Not Include Smoking, New York Governor Hints

By Lindsey Weedston 09/23/19

"There are ways to get THC without smoking marijuana, and we don’t encourage smoking period.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses New York marijuana legalization
We’re not in favor of smoking marijuana Wikimedia Commons / WikipediaLover4444

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York may have hinted that the state’s cannabis legalization bill may include a ban on smoking the substance, allowing only other methods of use such as edibles.

This suggestion was noticed by Marijuana Moment after Cuomo was interviewed on MSNBC Sunday and was asked if the recent cases of lung injury and deaths possibly connected to vaping products had made him reconsider his stance on the issue.

“No,” said Cuomo. “On marijuana, we’re not in favor of smoking marijuana. There are ways to get THC without smoking marijuana, and we don’t encourage smoking period.”

Legalizing THC Doesn't Necessarily Mean Legalizing Weed

Cuomo may have simply been defending his stance on cannabis legalization by pointing out that people don’t have to smoke it in order to enjoy it as MSNBC anchor Kendis Gibson pushed him on the vaping issue. However, multiple cannabis-focused news outlets have interpreted his answers as possibly suggesting that all or some forms of smoking could be banned in a future legalization bill.

“You can legalize marijuana and sell THC in compounds that do not require you to smoke the marijuana, and we do not support smoking of marijuana,” Cuomo continued. “There are compounds that have the THC, which is a compound in marijuana, that you don’t smoke.”

It is possible that a marijuana legalization bill could include an exception for smokables, especially as general bans on vaping products for both tobacco and cannabis have already been proposed.

The Trump administration is currently finalizing a national ban on flavored e-cigarettes that many experts have pointed to as the reason for the recent spikes in teen vaping rates. 

Democrats are backing the proposed ban, with many of them saying that the legislation is long overdue. Meanwhile, multiple states, including New York, are drafting their own vaping bans.

There is also direct precedent for such a ban in New York cannabis law. In 2014, medical marijuana legislation signed into law by Cuomo included a ban on smokable forms of the substance. Cuomo insisted on this provision himself, though his views on cannabis have clearly evolved over the years.

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at Twitter: