2019-2020 Victories for SAM Action

Over the last two years, SAM Action has been instrumental in defeating marijuana legalization efforts in the state legislatures of New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, Minnesota, and Rhode Island. 

In New Jersey, despite being outspent 86-1, SAM Action and our affiliate New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (NJ-RAMP), were able to defeat multiple attempts to ram commercialization through the State Senate, including a last-ditch effort to pass the bill in the “lame duck” period following the state’s elections. 

In New York, SAM Action built a broad coalition including the NYS PTA, Medical Society of the State of New York, NY Sheriffs’ Association, NY Chiefs of Police Association, County Health Officials, local elected officials, concerned parents, teachers, addiction and recovery activists. We were told from the outset that marijuana legalization in NYS was inevitable, due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s support of the policy. In the end, SAM Action and our coalition were able to remove marijuana legalization language from the state budget not once, but twice — all but guaranteeing it would not become law. 

In the end, we were able to instead help pass a bill there to decriminalize minor possession of marijuana and expunge prior convictions — a true reform worthy of praise. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, many state legislatures closed early after consideration of must-pass spending legislation. However, SAM Action remained active in various states as the marijuana industry shamelessly attempted to use the pandemic as a call for legalization. SAM Action held meetings with key lawmakers and stakeholders, reminding them that marijuana use could potentially exacerbate issues with COVID-19 and pointing out the callousness of considering proposals with such potential harms to public health and safety during an unprecedented health crisis.