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Tri-State Area Governors Hold Regional Summit On Vaping, Marijuana


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was joined by the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania for a regional summit on vaping and recreational marijuana Thursday.

"What we want to do is coordinate this on a regional basis," said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, noting how the "patchwork quilt of marijuana regulations makes no sense at all." He said the group came up with "very preliminary" principles concerning how to regulate legalized, recreational marijuana, such as agreeing to have similar policies for THC content, edibles, advertising and taxation in order to dissuade people from turning to the illicit market.

Lamont said "different states are going to have different time frames" to pass marijuana legislation and he didn't foresee everyone enacting the exact same law at the same time. He said more work needs to be done and staff from the participating states will continue working together on the issue. Several of the governors unsuccessfully pushed for their states to allow recreational pot sales in the last year.

"We just want to make sure we go in with our eyes open and we're consistent," Lamont said.

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On vaping, Lamont said there appeared to be "the most unity" among the officials on possibly outlawing flavored e-cigarettes next year, given their appeal to young people and the growing number of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths across the country.

"I think you'll see some unanimity on that at the start," he said.

Earlier this month, a state appeals court temporarily blocked New York from enforcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 90-day emergency ban on such products after the vaping industry sued to block the regulations. In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker last month announced a statewide ban on the sale of vaping products, a measure that has been challenged in court.

Meanwhile, a new law just took effect in Connecticut that increased the age to 21 for someone to purchase vaping products.

Cuomo said a lack of federal action on pot and vaping regulations means it's up to states to act. He noted that marijuana is often vaped and states should also consider that when considering marijuana legalization.

As of Oct. 15, there had been 33 vaping-related deaths in 24 states, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Another 1,479 lung illnesses were reported nationwide.

Most of the patients were males under the age of 35. Many said they used vaping products that contained THC.

"To date, national and state data suggest that products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g., friends, family members, or illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.

New York State lawmakers took steps to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, believed to target teens, but a judge put the ban on hold.

Last month, Cuomo met with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to coordinate their efforts on marijuana legalization.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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