In more recent news, another bill is moving over to Gov. Kathy Hochul, which would give hemp farmers in the state a conditional license, outlining the growth, processing, and distribution of cannabis products. However, there are still a few major roadblocks ahead until New Yorkers can stroll into a dispensary anywhere in the state.
What’s standing in their way is a government ruling called an opt-out clause, which gives municipalities the right to choose if they want dispensaries and cannabis storefronts in their region. So far, it looks like most of New York is against selling legal pot.
According to data sourced from Benzinga, 54% of 1,521 municipalities are against rolling out sites for cannabis consumption (i.e., lounges), and 47% don’t want dispensaries up and running in their region. However, “there’s still an opportunity in New York and other states to create an equitable and sustainable legal market,” wrote Steve DeAngelo in a Times Union op-ed.
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DeAngelo might be referencing the booming legal market in California. Although it seems like a thriving and profitable weed-friendly state, California sees most of its cannabis revenue from corporate companies that have operations in most legalized states.
The state is also experiencing a slight downfall regarding municipalities that have chosen to keep weed away under the opt-out clause. But, wherever there is weed in California, it’s heavily taxed, and in some cases, 40% of a product’s price is handed over to the taxman.
California also has a strictly regulated market, leaving independent cultivators out of the mix who can‘t find the funds or resources to stay afloat. For this reason, weed in California is primarily corporate.
DeAngelo later touched on legacy operators in the country, which are cannabis businesses that have been growing and selling weed and related products long before it was deemed legal. Take Bhang, for example. The company launched operations in 2010 and has now taken over the edible market nationwide.
These legacy operators are essential for maintaining the core heart of the cannabis industry, thanks to these pioneers who have carved it out for us. DeAngelo says something New York could benefit from is making a welcoming space for these companies to continue operations and serve the market they’ve created.
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