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Marijuana Legalization: New Jersey Takes Step Back, Connecticut Moves Forward, New York Stays In Neutral

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- What's the Tri-State Area's status on legalizing marijuana?

In Trenton, New Jersey, Monday's planned vote to legalize pot was suddenly canceled. In Hartford, Connecticut, a legislative law committee gave it a thumb's up and in New York, making marijuana legal is still a work in progress for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Is the grass greener on the other side of the river? Clearly that was the question of the day after the planned vote to legalize marijuana in New Jersey went up in smoke, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

Marijuana Sales
A budtender shows cannabis buds to a customer at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, Jan. 1, 2018, in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. (credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

On a radio show before Garden State lawmakers got cold feet, Cuomo was still drooling over the hundreds of millions of dollars the state can take in from a tax on marijuana sales.

"We are working to try to get marijuana done," the governor said.

Later, a Cuomo spokesman told CBS2's Kramer the governor is still negotiating to legalize marijuana by the end of the legislative session in June.

"What goes on in New Jersey is their business, not ours," the spokesman said.

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But former White House drug policy adviser Kevin Sabet, who lobbied against the New Jersey bill, said Cuomo should regard the New Jersey decision as a teachable moment.

"Today's essential no and pulling of the bill in New Jersey, in a deep blue state like New Jersey, sends a very strong message to Gov. Cuomo that this is not a done deal," Sabet said. "There are way too many concerns. We don't want to smell more marijuana. We don't want more stoned drivers."

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But in Connecticut, the move to legalize pot notched a first-round victory when the General Law Committee of the House narrowly, by a 10-8 vote, approved a plan that would establish a framework for the sale of cannabis products. It would still have to be approved by the full House and the Senate.

In New York, voters have many opinions about legalization, ranging from being all for it to being totally against it.

"A lot of my friends, they kind of change when they smoke it," said A.J. Nazarov of Sunset Park.

"There are more positives than negatives," another person said.

"I'm not quite convinced because the long-term affects of marijuana are still not known," added Frank Friedman of the Upper West Side.

"For medical, I'm 100 percent and I think under the control it's better than to do it than put young people who use it in a jail," added Zuzana Herzog of upstate Woodbury.

"People are going to find a way to get it any way. They might as well legalize it and make the state make money," Charles Cooper of the Bronx said.

Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont all support legalization, so if any one of them succeeds in passing a bill, well, it could set off a freeway free-for-all as smokers flood the interstate seeking a pot pipeline.

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