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City Guides | 03.22.2022

New York’s Legalization Model Might Make The State A Global Cannabis Leader

By ensuring that racial justice is a priority, New York's legalization plan might be the new industry standard.

New Yorkers have been very patient, waiting for legal adult-use weed and dispensaries to arrive throughout the state. And if they’ll just hold on for a bit longer, the state could position itself as not only the U.S. leader in cannabis but the global leader too.

New reports and press releases were flying out of New York this week, all pointing towards the upcoming cannabis conference, ‘Business of Cannabis,’ that will discuss the state’s plan for full-throttle legalization. State Sen. Liz Krueger will lead the discussion, and she’s hopeful it will bring New York’s cannabis space to new heights. 

The conference is scheduled for September 29, and it will be the first major cannabis conference to take place since March 2021, when New York introduced the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), reports say. 

Photo by Eduardo Muñoz / Reuters

This week, similar news from New York saw Gov. Kathy Hochul officially finalize the state’s marijuana regulatory board to ensure they’re ready for cannabis laws to roll out. A recent press release noted that Krueger will speak with 300 political and business members during a packed day of keynote talks, panels, and networking to create a reliable plan for New York’s cannabis space. 

But what’s going to set the state apart from others? Well, Krueger wrote in the press release that New York is “poised to implement a nation-leading model for what marijuana legalization can look like by legalizing adult-use cannabis in a way that foregrounds racial justice.” The model will also help by “balancing safety with economic growth, encouraging new small businesses, and significantly diminishing the illegal market,” Krueger says. 

Finally, she feels that not only will the economic gain “help heal and repair those same communities,” but it’s also “critical that these goals are prioritized as MRTA is implemented in the months ahead.”

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Suppose New York were to implement the legalization model that truly focuses on lifting minority communities and repairing them from the decades-long damage cannabis prohibition has shown. In that case, it’s without a doubt the state could become a role model for a standard legalization plan. 

The current estimate for New York’s total medical and adult-use sales in 2022 is expected to hit $2.6 billion, according to cannabis data and analysis firm Prohibition Partners. However, with the new legalization model in mind, the firm predicts New York’s total sales should reach $3.9 billion by 2025. 

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