New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he will pursue legislation in 2021 to establish a legal market for marijuana in New York, which would effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State and create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol for adults over the age of 21.
Under the Governor’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.
“Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”
Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) said, “New York still has the opportunity to lead the country on cannabis legalization by establishing the most ambitious and progressive legalization program in the U.S. and implementing cannabis legalization from a social justice lens where other states have fallen short.
“2021 is the right time for marijuana justice in New York and the budget period is a crucial time for advancing legalization, which can be an economic engine driving wealth and equity in marginalized communities and providing space for alternative economic systems—if we work intentionally.”
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She went on to say, “Governor Cuomo and the legislature can cement New York as the national model for marijuana legalization by centering community reinvestment, equity, and justice within our comprehensive reform. We can do this by making our legalization effort one that benefits those who have been harmed by prohibition and focusing on creating equitable jobs and small businesses across the state as New York looks to recover from the pandemic. Given New York’s appalling history with racially-biased marijuana enforcement, we must be bold and innovative in creating justice and equity.”
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Cresco Labs’ (OTC: CRLBF) CEO Charlie Bachtell said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for calling for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the State of New York. We support his equity-centric approach to legalization as it will have a transformational impact on the state’s constituents, creating opportunities for those impacted by the War on Drugs and ensuring that cannabis develops into a responsible and respectable industry in New York.”
This article originally appeared on Green Market Report and has been reposted with permission.