NY Cannabis Legalization Imminent

New York’s State Assembly is poised to vote on a bill that would legalize the adult use, or “recreational” use of cannabis.  Those in favor of the legislation argue that legalization will (i) raise much needed tax revenue from a $4.2 billion dollar industry during the pandemic-induced recession; (ii) create thousands of jobs; (iii) pump money back into disadvantaged communities who have been disproportionately impacted by drug convictions; (iv) diminish the illegal black market industry and instead allow consumers to buy a safer, regulated product from a legitimate business; and (v) expand the scope of diagnoses which may be treated with medical cannabis.  Those against the legislation are concerned about (i) health and safety; (ii) impaired driving; and/or (iii) that the social justice component in the bill is not strong enough.

Procedurally, after the legislation passes the New York State Assembly, the State agencies will then promulgate rules and regulations.  The regulations will govern licensing requirements for cultivation, distribution and the retail sale of cannabis.  While many individuals and businesses will no doubt apply for licenses, few will likely be chosen initially.  For that reason, our firm has been advising clients regarding their eligibility for licenses, how to position themselves for success, and how to legally enter the this lucrative and blossoming industry.

New York legalized medicinal marijuana in 2014.  Since 2012, Canada and 15 states (including New Jersey and Massachusetts and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for adults over the age of 21.  New York’s laws will no doubt be modeled after other State’s laws.

It will take time for New York to finalize the regulatory framework and years for the State to see the estimated $350 million dollar annual tax revenue.  In the meantime, if you have any legal questions about an existing or new cannabis business in New York, please feel free to call us.

For general information about our firm, please contact us at (914) 338-8050 or send an e-mail to keith@betenskylaw.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Betensky Law PLLC
The Empire Building
26 Village Green, Suite 4
P.O. Box 22
Bedford, New York 10506-0022
(914) 338-8050

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