New York State Cannabis Tax Revenue Falls Short of Predictions

Only eight adult-use stores have opened in the state to-date.

Cannabis tax revenues in New York state are both up and down at the same time, according to state data.

State marijuana revenues were up for the month of March after being flat for most of the prior 12 months, to $1.8 million in tax collections from about $1 million per month previously.

But for the 12 months ended March 31, year-over-year totals were actually down by 2.3% to a total of $12.6 million, according to a monthly report by the state comptroller.

For the 12 months that concluded in March 2022, by contrast, the state brought in $12.9 million in cannabis consumption and use taxes, the comptroller reported.

The figures are likely disappointing for Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration, which last year projected $56 million in state cannabis tax revenues in the first year of legal recreational sales, with a $1.25 billion tax haul in the first six years of the new market.

Adult-use sales launched in December, and new stores have been opening their doors more slowly than expected. As of today, eight stores have opened, with four in New York City.

Moreover, a special revenue fund devoted to “NYS Cannabis Revenue” was entirely depleted in March, from a starting balance on March 1 of $5.2 million to a negative balance of minus $447,000 at the end of the month, which suggests the state is spending more on the recreational cannabis market rollout than it’s brought in.

The Medical Cannabis Trust Fund was also down slightly for the month, from an opening balance of $13.9 million to $13.3 million at the end of the month.

In addition, New York City received its first influx of cannabis tax money from the state in March, to the tune of $203,669 the city’s comptroller reported on April 11.

John Schroyer

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