With the legalization of recreational marijuana in neighboring New Jersey on election day, it appears highly (no pun intended) likely that New York will similarly pass legislation legalizing marijuana. Governor Cuomo has historically been against legalization of recreational marijuana. However, the Governor has been on record making pronouncements in the last couple of years calling for the end of the prohibition of recreational marijuana and yet nothing has happened. To date, recreational marijuana dispensaries or Amsterdam styled coffeeshops have not been permitted to open in New York.
Now, with the pandemic causing a large shortfall in New York's budget, it is “ripe” for the picking when it comes to legalizing marijuana for public sale and distribution, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday morning.
Despite Democrats gaining control of the state Senate last year, legislatures remained divided on the issue over where taxes from marijuana sales would be allocated in the state.
Some Democrats in New York have advocated for marijuana tax revenues to be directed to communities in the state where criminalization of the substance has strongly impacted residents.
Others say marijuana taxation revenues should be divided into areas such as public education or infrastructure.
In my humble opinion, the two wings of the Democratic party need to make compromises as to how the tax revenue should be spent.
If you are interested in starting a business in the cannabis industry what should you do? The first course of action you should take is to Tell Governor Cuomo, Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie that it's time to legalize marijuana, repair the harms of prohibition and reinvest in communities.
Right now, the rules regulating the sale of medical marijuana in the State of New York are extremely prohibitive. There are only a couple of well funded companies that have licenses to grow and sell cannabis. This cuts out small businesses, who have been hammered during COVID. We need to lobby the legislature to allow small entrepreneurs to get in on the action and create more licenses, especially for minorities. The banking laws need to change. Banks in states where the sale of recreational cannabis is legal still refuse to work with businesses that grow or distribute marijuana because it is still illegal under federal law.