Deal Hashed Out For Legal Cannabis in the Empire State

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New York appears to be on deck as the next state to join the list of cannabis-friendly environments in which these businesses might have a chance to thrive.

The deal recently struck between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers in Albany aims to legalize cannabis use for adults 21 and older. The effort is dependent on several steps including passing the measures as part of the state budget due on April 1st. If that is successful, officials must draft the regulations that will control the market, including how the yet-to-be created Office of Cannabis Management awards licenses and assesses taxes. Industry oversight is expected to be controlled by a five-member board made up of three gubernatorial appointees, one state Senate appointee, and one state Assembly appointee.

Assuming none of the prerequisite steps are arrested by political gridlock, sales by licensed dispensaries could begin as early as December 2022.

Although prohibited until the middle of 2024, the proposed legislation would also allow individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use (twelve if there is more than one “of-age” adult in the home), and up to ten plants for medical use.

Cities, towns and villages that allow these businesses can tack a four percent tax on top of the nine percent state tax on retail sales. It is expected that the estimated $300 million a year in new revenues will be used to fund the new cannabis agency, be reinvested in minority communities as well as doled out in social equity grants and utilized for public education and school aid.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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