A Tale of Two States: NYC on Verge of Bankruptcy as New Jersey Looks to Fasttrack Legal Weed

For the first time in over forty years, the City That Never Sleeps is on the verge of having its lights shut off as New York City continues its plunge toward potential bankruptcy.

With an average cost of living some 138% higher than the national average, an average apartment rent cost of over $4,500 per month, and with median home prices over $870k, the Big Apple is losing much of its core as many folks are just being priced out and forced to move to more financially forgiving states.

Manhattanites get gouged from every angle seeing a 40% markup on groceries, 30% higher on transportation, and 50% higher on movie tickets.

It seems that everything is higher in New York City but financial experts warn that the city’s spending spree could become very costly if the national economy slows down or slips into recession.

On the other side of the Hudson River, in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has struck a deal with state lawmakers clearing the way for a potential legislative motion to legalize, regulate, and tax the adult recreational use of cannabis statewide.

This could happen as quickly as two weeks because New Jersey law is set up so that a vote on the matter is not put to the people, but rather is handled legislatively by elected officials.

If passed, New Jerz will become the 11th state (or 12th if New Mexico can beat them to it) in the nation to legalize the adult use of weed, and just the 2nd to do so through state legislature rather than by a vote of the people.

This flavor of democracy certainly has its pros and cons but in this case it should expedite the process of cannabis reform quite a bit with the governor’s stamp of approval backing it up.

“Legalizing adult-use marijuana is a monumental step to reducing disparities in our criminal justice system,” the gov said in a press release. “After months of hard work and thoughtful negotiations, I’m thrilled to announce an agreement with my partners in the Legislature on the broad outlines of adult-use marijuana legislation.”

The law will also include language for expungement of past non-violent cannabis crimes that would not be prosecuted under the new law. This will allow thousands of residents to clean up or totally clear old and unjust criminal records that have been burdening their lives for years.

Cannabis stocks have rallied on the news with companies like Canopy, Cronos, Tilray, and others seeing welcome gains for their shareholders as another new marijuana market stands poised to open for business.

State and local municipal officials are licking their lips as well as they set their sights on hundreds of millions of dollars of fresh new tax revenues as they stick their hands in everything from the cultivation to the retail sale of the plant.

Hey yo, New York, you hearin’ this?

Yes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reluctantly inching the Empire State toward the same goal, but he certainly isn’t going to get there in the next two weeks.

Though it’s not certain that New Jersey will get it done that quickly either, and if lawmakers there do not have a plan in place by the beginning of April, they will not reconvene with time on their docket until sometime in June.

Which state will get there first, and how the two markets will eventually coexist remains to be seen but it sure is exciting to watch it unfold.

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