New York marijuana legalization takes an enormous step ahead

News came from Albany, New York late Wednesday afternoon that lawmakers had reached an agreement on the language of legislation to legalize adult cannabis.

There are two competing bills – the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The word is that the bill agreed upon included the controversial issue of home growing, delivery, social consumption, and license auction removal. However, there is no confirmation of the actual language included that could get a vote next week. It is expected that it will take at least a year for the sale to take place.

“I believe New York is the nation’s progressive capital – not just because we say it, but because we do it. Legalizing cannabis is the priority this year to be the nation’s progressive capital, ”Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Wednesday in a briefing. “We won’t be the first, but our program will be the best.”

The legislation has yet to be budgeted and could still be amended and rewritten. “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.

Medical marijuana is already legal in New York, but that legislation would legalize recreational cannabis use for adults 21 and older. Krueger said there would be a 13% sales tax, of which 9% would go to the state and 4% to local communities. Traders would also levy an excise tax of up to 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, the staggering based on the type of product and its effectiveness.

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One of the biggest problems that hampered the negotiations was the ability to grow cannabis at home. It was rumored that six plants per person would be allowed with 12 plants per household. Home growing wouldn’t start until 2024. Another problem is that municipalities may refuse to deliver, retail and grow.

Photo by Arthur Brognoli from Pexels

Krueger also said there would be no changes to taxes already levied on marijuana sold for medicinal purposes. Some of the additional aspects of the law discussed included:

  • The state health ministry would have to investigate devices used to test saliva to determine if a person has been affected by marijuana, despite lawmakers being skeptical about the technology’s effectiveness.
  • Police were allowed to use the smell of cannabis to determine impairment, although they could not use it to warrant a search of a vehicle.
  • Driving while impaired by marijuana would be more likely to result in injury than violation. However, this component can be revised further before the final invoice is published.
  • The state’s existing medical cannabis program would also be amended to add to the list of qualifying conditions and allow patients to smoke marijuana products. Patients could also receive a 60-day supply instead of a 30-day supply.

The governor’s office estimates that a legal cannabis program, once fully implemented, could raise approximately $ 350 million annually. Existing medical pharmacies could add four additional locations under the proposal, two of which would need to be in underserved areas, she said. Registered medical marijuana organizations could add two adult pharmacies, Krueger said.

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Matt Hawkins, founder and managing partner of cannabis-focused PE company Entourage Effect Capital, said, “Good news that a three-way adult cannabis agreement has been reached in New York State. This potential $ 2.5 billion market will have a monumental impact on the industry similar to that of California’s Adult Passage in 2016. At Entourage Effect Capital, we look forward to investing in the state after legalization. “

Why is New York City CBD Products EmbarrassingPhoto by Andre Benz via Unsplash

Many believed that the language of the MRTA was the predominant language in the negotiated bill. The issue of social justice seems to be addressed in the creation of a fund versus certain licenses, but that could still be changed.


  • There are still two arrestable crimes under the MRTA: selling to someone under the age of 21 and selling unlicensed over a pound of marijuana.
  • The MRTA sets 21 as the legal age of use for marijuana and marijuana products.
  • The MRTA establishes the Bureau of Marijuana Policy to take regulatory responsibility for the marijuana industry. The office will be housed in the existing state alcohol agency and will serve the similar purpose of providing oversight, regulation and licensing.
  • According to the MRTA, people over the age of 21 are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants at home and keep the fruits of these plants.
    Individuals convicted of low-level possession (including public possession) and low-level sale will have that conviction removed from their records.
  • Under the MRTA, the Bureau of Marijuana Policy issues licenses to manufacture, process, test, dispense, distribute, and supply marijuana.
  • The MRTA constrains vertical integration to give new companies the greatest possible scope to develop and contribute to a New York-centric market.
  • The tax revenue will be used to conduct studies analyzing the effects of marijuana legalization on public health, public safety, youth use, the government economy, the environment and the criminal justice system. Additional funds will be distributed to study the effectiveness of the New York regulations and their success in ensuring diversity and inclusion in licensing
  • The MRTA does not affect the Compassionate Care Act and the medical marijuana program it has established


  • The CRTA would establish the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) within the Alcohol and Beverage Control Department. The OCM would be headed by a five-person cannabis control panel appointed by the governor to oversee the adult, medical device and cannabinoid (CBD) industry. Under the governor’s proposal, the governor would appoint all five members and the chairman, who would also serve as executive director of the board of directors.
  • The CRTA removes supply licenses and mandates that cultivators and / or processors use through licensed distributors to wholesale adult products.
  • The CRTA is tasking the OCM with establishing a Social and Economic Justice Plan (the Justice Plan) that “actively promotes racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the adult cannabis industry and prioritizes applicants who qualify as minority and women owned companies. Social justice applicant or disadvantaged farmer who has a positive impact on areas harmed by disproportionate enforcement of the war on drugs. “
  • The CRTA contains a local opt-out provision that allows any county or city with a population of 100,000 or more to pass a local law, ordinance, or resolution by a majority of their governing body to opt out to prevent adult cannabis program. Local governments participating in the adult cannabis program can further regulate the time, location, and type of cannabis operations through zoning powers.

This article originally appeared in the Green Market Report and was republished with permission.

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