Dec 17, 2018

The next wave of weed legalization

Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that he plans to work to legalize recreational marijuana next year in the state "once and for all" — the latest in a string of recent policy shifts embracing legalization of the drug.

The big picture: 1o states and D.C. have already legalized recreational marijuana, while it's legal in 33 states and D.C. for medical purposes. One of the biggest arguments state and local government officials have for legalization is the revenue it could bring — in New York, it could bring in more than $1.7 billion annually.

  • Cuomo's reversal on marijuana is notable, as he called it a "gateway drug" publicly as recently as last year.
  • Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for lawmakers to legalize weed in Illinois, one of the states where it remains fully illegal. Emanuel's plan calls for the city's marijuana revenues to be paid back directly into its pensions.
  • Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner plans to introduce an amendment to the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill being discussed in the Senate this week, which would allow cannabis-focused businesses to open bank accounts in states where marijuana has been legalized.
  • In the midterms, three out of four state measures to legalize marijuana either medically or recreationally passed.
  • The farm bill, which passed last week, legalized the commercial production of hemp — a type of cannabis plant conflated with marijuana, though it lacks similar THC levels.

Go deeper ... Great green hope: The big picture on legal marijuana

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 65,691 — Total deaths: 30,438 — Total recoveries: 139,263.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 119,748 — Total deaths: 1,991 — Total recoveries: 921.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers financial relief.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

Go deeperArrow53 mins ago - Health

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health