New York lawmakers and governor agree on leisure hashish legalization legislation

(This story has been updated to include comments and corrects the number of adult businesses that existing medical marijuana companies could run.)

New York stands ready to legalize a nearly $ 2.5 billion-a-year recreational cannabis market after lawmakers agreed on the program’s framework with Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.

Retail sales could start as early as a year after the legislation comes into force.

According to several media reports, the law on legalization is expected to be examined by state legislators next week.

Cuomo is expected to sign the bill once it is passed.

Marijuana Business Daily predicts that one recreational marijuana market in New York will eventually become the largest on the East Coast, with annual sales of $ 2.3 billion in year four.

New York would be the 17th state in the country to legalize adult use unless another state legislates first.

Legalization would create tens of thousands of new jobs in New York, which is facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit.

The move would offer tremendous business opportunities to manufacturers of cultivation and processing equipment, packaging companies, lawyers and other ancillary services.

“I understand that the three-way agreement has been reached and that the drafting of a bill is about to finalize a bill that we all support,” Liz Krueger, chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee, told the Bloomberg administration on Wednesday.

Cuomo has been pushing for recreational marijuana legalization for a number of years, but pressure increased when voters in neighboring New Jersey approved adult legalization at the November 3rd ballot box.

“Great news in New York, it’s incredibly close,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Washington DC-based Marijuana Policy Project. “It will be a big market for social justice applicants to get involved.”

Hawkins said his understanding is that up to 900 retail stores would be allowed and that social equity operators would be allowed to do vertical cultivation, processing, distribution and retailing businesses.

“The idea is to give them the greatest chance to thrive in the market that is emerging in New York,” said Hawkins.

Jeremy Unruh, senior vice president of public and regulatory affairs at PharmaCann in Illinois, one of the existing MMJ operators in New York, said he was optimistic that New York is on the verge of legalizing adult marijuana.

“New York has never been so close to legalizing adult cannabis,” Unruh wrote in an email.

“We remain confident that Albany policymakers can reach consensus on marijuana regulation in the Empire State to build a responsible, diverse, and job-creating cannabis ecosystem.”

A copy of the New York measure was not immediately available.

However, the bill reportedly includes provisions to strengthen the medical marijuana market ahead of an adult launch.

According to Bloomberg and the industry, here are a few key points:

  • The state’s 10 existing medical marijuana operators could operate three adult stores, co-located with three of their MMJ pharmacies.
  • Existing MMJ companies were able to double their current number of pharmacies from four to eight if two were in underserved areas.
  • Cannabis products would be taxed at 13%, 9% of this in the state coffers and 4% in localities.
  • Based on the strength of the product, a wholesale tax would be charged that would be up to 3 cents per milligram of THC.

New Jersey lawmakers agreed a move in February to implement the state’s nearly $ 1 billion market, which is expected to go on sale before the end of the year.

Virginia lawmakers also passed a legalization bill in February, but many provisions of the measure will have to be readjusted over the next year.

Jeff Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

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