New York Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtOctober 5, 2021
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4min10420

New York’s Cannabis Control Board is moving quickly to make up for the lost time under the previous administration. In the group’s first meeting since incoming Gov. Hochul stepped in and nominated people for the board, they approved raw cannabis flower as a medical product effective immediately.

Boris Jordan, the founder and chairman of Curaleaf (OTC: CURLF) said on Twitter:

Thank you, NY Gov. Hochul & the Office of Cannabis Management for allowing the sale of whole flower. This decision impacts 151k+ medical patients in NY who will now have access to quality & safe whole flower. Action (not talk) from our new Gov!

In addition to approving flower, the Board also loosened other restrictions.

  • Doctors can approve medical patients
  • 30 day supply increases to 60 day supply
  • $50 registration fee for patients is waived
  • Streamlining dispensation

Currently, New York cannabis law states that adults 21 and older can possess up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrates in New York. The irony is that regular citizens could legally smoke cannabis flower in public, while medical patients weren’t allowed such a form factor.

The meeting was a quick one and lasted roughly 30 minutes. The board members are Tremaine Wright (Cannabis Control Board Chair) , Jessica Garcia, Rueben McDaniel III, Jen Metzger, Adam Perry and Chris Alexander (Executive Director). The meeting also named Jason Starr as the Chief Equity Officer. He served as assistant counsel to former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and also worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Patrik Jonsson, Regional President of the Northeast at Curaleaf said, “The expansion of New York’s medical program allowing the sale of whole flower is a very big deal for the thousands of patients affected who now have access to the most cost effective and natural form of the plant. On behalf of Curaleaf and our patient community, I want to thank legislators and the Office of Cannabis Management for their leadership on this issue. This continued evolution of the medical program, which includes expanded qualifying conditions and the removal of application fees, will empower more patients to make choices that work best for their needs. These changes will give New Yorkers access to whole flower that has undergone standardized procedures and testing protocols, ensuring quality and safety. Curaleaf looks forward to expanding our product offerings to best serve our valued patients.” Curaleaf said it could have products on the shelf in November after state testing.

Stocks See Lift

Several of the cannabis companies with large exposure to New York saw stock prices immediately jump on the news. Curaleaf Stock rose as did Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF).


Debra BorchardtSeptember 2, 2021
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Green Market Report broke the news yesterday that New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul had named her two candidates for leading the adult-use cannabis legalization movement. Chris Alexander for the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management and Tremaine Wright will be named Chair of the Board. Late Wednesday the state Senate confirmed both nominees to lead the agencies that will regulate cannabis sales in New York. The process had stalled under Governor Cuomo who publicly supported legalization, but often stalled the process behind the scenes.

Hochul said at the special session she called for legislators, “There is no reason why simple announcements in terms of who the executive director is and who the chairperson is were not done in time, but I’m going to make up for that lost time.”

Matt Gregarek, CEO and Chairman Pure Harvest Corporate Group,  (OTCQB: PHCG)said, “The Northeast has been waiting for such a massive adult use market like New York to take off and Governor Hochul’s nominees are critical to making that happen. We are heartened to see Governor Hochul is taking the industry seriously and moving forward unlike her predecessor. We have seen it time and time before that successful markets start with a governor that supports it and it looks like New York finally has that key component.” –

Alexander is the government relations and policy director at the cannabis company Vill LLC, a Multi-State Cannabis Company based in Canada. He was also an Associate Counsel in the New York State Senate and Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance. Alexander is said to have resigned from his position at Vill. Many in the industry were happy with the appointment and often describe Alexander as a cannabis policy nerd.

At a webinar in May Alexander was quoted as saying, “What we have in terms of our social economic equity program is really an MWBE program on steroids, essentially, where we’re really trying to target the folks who want to access the market. That includes people who have been impacted by prohibition, that includes people who live in communities that have been over policed. For marijuana possession offenses, that includes you know, social and economically disadvantaged farmers who are struggling to keep, you know, products flowing and keep their industry alive.”

The New York City Cannabis Industry Association (NYCCIA) and the Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Association (HVCIA) released a statement applauding these appointments and saying it would now accelerate the process “so that we won’t have to wait until January’s regular session to start the work of creating the new legal market. With staff coming online in the near term, the state can start work on regulations to implement New York’s groundbreaking new law and thereby get us that much closer to realizing the law’s critical goals of promoting social and economic equity and creating as much opportunity as possible for those who want to take part in a new diverse and inclusive industry that can be a model for the rest of the world to emulate.”

Wright is a former representative for the 56th District of the New York State Assembly, which includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Wright ran for State Senate in 2020, but lost to Jabari Brisport. Wright has been active in the New York cannabis scene for years fighting for legalization. She is currently the Director of the Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment in the NYS Department of Financial Services. Many saw the move to appoint Wright as a possible strategic move for Hochul who would need support from that area when she runs for Governor versus the assignment due to the resignation.

“The appointment of former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright adds a strong voice supporting the adult use market in New York as well as a leader in pursuing the social equity goals of the new MRTA law. Chris is an experienced player in the industry as well as a respected advocate and we look forward to working with them both as they staff up and work to release regulations to move the Empire State’s entry into adult use forward as expeditiously as possible,” said David Feldman, CEO & Co-founder of Skip Intro Advisors, a cannabis & psychedelics consulting group headquartered in NYC.

Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, CEO & Co-founder of the Blinc Group added, “These nominees are going to need to really pay attention to the structure of the state to not make the same mistakes so many other have like, ensuring that minorities are not being used as straw men for MSOs, building more processing facilities to help the industry thrive and creating programs with 0% loans so small businesses can work more closely with trusted partners like the Blinc Group.”

StaffSeptember 1, 2021
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It was confirmed that Governor Kathy Hochul named Chris Alexander to be the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management. Alexander is the government relations and policy director at the cannabis company Vill LLC, a Multi-State Cannabis Company based in Canada. He was also an Associate Counsel in the New York State Senate and Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.

At a webinar in May Alexander was quoted as saying, “What we have in terms of our social economic equity program is really an MWBE program on steroids, essentially, where we’re really trying to target the folks who want to access the market. That includes people who have been impacted by prohibition, that includes people who live in communities that have been over policed. For marijuana possession offenses, that includes you know, social and economically disadvantaged farmers who are struggling to keep, you know, products flowing and keep their industry alive.”

Kassandra Frederique, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “By moving swiftly to establish the adult use cannabis program after delays under her predecessor and nominating leaders who have long been involved in the fight for marijuana justice in New York, Governor Hochul is sending a strong signal that the landmark racial and economic justice provisions we fought so hard for in the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will be taken seriously and implemented accordingly.

“We applaud the nominations of Chris Alexander, who she has nominated for Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, and former Assembly member Tremaine Wright, who she picked for Chair of the Cannabis Control Board. They both understand the deep harm that criminalization has caused to individuals and communities – especially communities of color – across the state. Their past work has reflected a commitment to working with people who have been directly impacted by prohibition and demonstrated a belief in evidence-based policies that center equity and justice.”

 

In addition to Alexander, Tremaine Wright will be named Chair of the Board. Wright is a former representative for the 56th District of the New York State Assembly, which includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. Wright ran for State Senate in 2020, but lost to Jabari Brisport. Wright has been active in the New York cannabis scene for years fighting for legalization. She is currently the Director of the Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment in the NYS Department of Financial Services.

The process to get the New York legal adult-use market established was stalled by a lack of enthusiasm by former Governor Cuomo. When the Governor resigned following a sexual harassment scandal, many had hoped that the process would gain steam and that looks to be the case. “Nominating and confirming individuals with diverse experiences and subject matter expertise, who are representative of communities from across the state, to the Cannabis Control Board is a priority for Gov. Hochul,” spokesperson Jordan Bennett told The New York Post a week ago. “We look forward to working with the legislature to keep this process moving forward.”

The Senate would still need to confirm the appointments, but insiders say they don’t expect any opposition to these two individuals.


Debra BorchardtAugust 11, 2021
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4min7080

Cannabis fans are hopeful that the resignation of Governor Andrew Cuomo will mean legalization efforts will get back on track. The Governor often signaled he was in favor of full legalization, but often behind the scenes, he seemed to slow the process. While the incoming governor Luitenant Governor Kathy Hochul hasn’t signaled whether it will be a key issue for her, many are feeling positive that the April 2022 goal may be back in play. She does come from the more conservative area of the state, but she is also a pragmatic politician and one known for getting things done.

David Feldman, Managing Partner at cannabis consulting firm Skip Intro said at the High NY event in New York City on August 10 that he was sure she’d have other pressing priorities in the immediate future. Hochul has to assemble a team and make the transition to Governor at a time that the COVID pandemic seems to be resurging. Feldman though believes progress could be made again.

Viridian Capital Advisors wrote in a new report, “Despite passing legislation in March, Mr. Cuomo has always been a reluctant supporter of cannabis legislation and in recent months, the timing of a rollout became uncertain as he and other state leaders politicized the issue leveraging cannabis to get other topics prioritized. Most recently, the Governor and Senate leaders have jockeyed over who will be appointed to lead the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board. Both sides supposedly are looking to win favor for other issues with appointees. Meanwhile, the two state offices are integral in setting legislation and giving operators sufficient transparency to fund the build-out of assets and future capacity.”

There are ten licensed operators in New York: Acreage, Columbia Care, Cresco, Curaleaf, iAnthus, Etain Health (private), Goodness Growth, Green Thumb, MedMen (majority of assets have been sold to Ascend Wellness), Pharmacann (private). These operators will all have first advantage access to the market.

“Given that New York is expected to quickly become one of the largest cannabis markets in the US (we estimate ~$2B by 2025) and the fact that in almost all new markets existing operators benefit from early mover advantages, we expect each of the ten license holders to generate outperforming revenues and profits in the near term if they buildout assets.  Meanwhile, we expect any new licenses issued to also be highly sought after particularly anything permitting New York City access or cultivation/production at scale and believe all MSOs will look to quickly enter the market.”

The report went on to say, “Even while the vertical integration prohibition on new entrants makes New York expansion through license receipt less attractive than it could be otherwise, we continue to anticipate significant interest amongst MSOs in obtaining licenses and particularly in early rounds. We expect many MSOs to focus either on retail operations near New York City or other populous parts of the state while others plan to operate as wholesalers to the market. Wholesaling as reflected by the previously referenced margin equation can be a highly profitable business (and cash generator) in new rec markets. In Massachusetts, operators within our coverage including AYR Wellness and TILT have proven the highly profitable opportunities from wholesale-centric operations in an under supplied developing markets.”


StaffMarch 31, 2021
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On March 30, 2021, late in the evening, the New York legislature passed the landmark MRTA (Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act) bill legalizing marijuana in the Empire state. Through the hard work of people impacted by prohibition, advocates and champion lawmakers, like Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, New York has taken action to chip away the remnants of the war on drugs.

“Today, the Assembly and the Senate modeled what democracy actually looks like when the legislature allows progressive movements to lead towards justice” said Jawanza James Williams, Director of Organizing with VOCAL-NY. “We did not fight simply for legalization’s sake, but worked for years to craft legislation rooted in racial and economic justice, in an effort to repair harms while also setting a new standard for anti-racist, class-conscious, and gender-expansive policymaking. This is a massive success for New Yorkers, and for communities across the United States. We implore the Governor to immediately sign the MRTA into law.”

“Make no mistake about it, New York has made history today by ensuring marijuana reform is on track to become the law of the land. Through the hard work of people impacted by prohibition, advocates and champion lawmakers, like Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, New York has taken bold action to put a nail in the coffin of the war on drugs,” said Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This law comprehensively addresses the harms of overcriminalization and establishes one of the most ambitious marijuana legalization programs in the nation. Through this sweeping legislation, New York is delivering reforms that place community reinvestment, social equity, and justice at the core of the law. At long last, victory is here. We urge Governor Cuomo to sign the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into law immediately.”

“For years, New York marijuana convictions have caused immeasurable harm to immigrant communities across New York State,” said Jose Chapa, Senior Policy Associate at the Immigrant Defense Project. “Thanks to the work of countless advocates, our partners at the Drug Policy Alliance and Start SMART NY, New Yorkers seeking status or immigration relief will be able to vacate old marijuana convictions to clear the path to become residents and citizens, thanks to the passage of the MRTA.”

“Thank you DPA, community organizers, advocates, Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes, Senator Liz Krueger and our lawmakers who stood with us pushing for legalization, together we did it! While it has been a journey, we will celebrate this joyous day but not without understanding this is only the beginning. It is essential that we see fair representation of minorities and women in the Office of Cannabis Management and on advisory boards that will oversee our in-state program. We have a community of women who are ready to work with legislators as the next round of work unfolds. This bill will serve many groups but we must first address the communities most harmed. We owe them. It is critical that we educate whole communities on these new laws before they take effect and give our people access to the opportunities we fought for in this bill. Let’s celebrate by taking steps to repair,” said Gia Morón, Women Grow.

“Over a century since marijuana was first prohibited in the US, New York state finally moves one step closer toward redressing the harms perpetuated against Black and Latinx communities through its prohibition by passing this historic legislation. We applaud the tireless work of countless directly impacted individuals who have been on the frontlines of pushing for its passage and call on Governor Cuomo to sign it into law immediately,” said Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s taken a great amount of work and perseverance by activists, patients, and consumers, to go from being the cannabis arrest capital of the world, to lead the world with a legalized market dedicated to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This might not be the perfect piece of legislation, but today, cannabis consumers can hold their heads high and smell the flowers. Senator Krueger and Assembly Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes have laid the groundwork for marijuana justice and a consumer-centric industry. Now, it’s time for the Office of Cannabis Management to take up their torch and implement regulations that protect patient and consumer rights. In the words of our late Director, Doug Greene – Cannabis Excelsior!” said Troy Smit, Empire State NORML.

“New York’s approach to cannabis regulation and taxation is historic in its focus on reinvestment in the communities most harmed by over-policing and over-prosecution of cannabis-related offenses,” said Tracie Gardner, Legal Action Center’s Vice President of Policy Advocacy. “We are deeply grateful to the leadership and tireless advocacy of the Start SMART coalition for its unwavering commitment to ensuring that New York’s cannabis legalization centers on equity and justice.”

“As a child, I experienced firsthand the devastating impact the War on Drugs was having on communities of color. As a student leader/activist, New York State drug policy reform became the first issue I worked on. As a community, we have learned that legalization is important, but it must be coupled with equitable strategies to help repair the harm done to poor communities and communities of color during this unjust war. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) incorporates racial and economic justice that begins to right the wrongs of the past and present and encompasses the necessary visionary strategies to give hope and opportunity to our young people. MRTA begins to address both the racial and the economic inequalities that plague Western New York by calling for direct investments back into the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by biased and unjust policing and incarceration policies,” said Franchelle Parker, Executive Director of Open Buffalo.

“Thanks to the tireless dedication of our legislative leaders and people statewide, New Yorkers are on the verge of a new paradigm where cannabis can help heal our communities, regenerate the environment and revitalize local economies. New York has the potential to become the national leader in forward-looking cannabis policies that protect and repair the planet, create equitable opportunity for all and afford justice to those harmed by past practices. We look forward to continuing our work with state officials and regulators to ensure we succeed,” said Donna Burns of NY Small Farma.

“The New York Minority Alliance is proud to be part of such historical legislation that includes equitable access and resources in Entrepreneurship, Social Justice, Community Reinvestment and Health Equity for Black and Latinx communities. We congratulate all that were involved and thank the NYS Legislature for this day!” said Yasmin Hurston, President of New York Minority Alliance

 


StaffMarch 29, 2021
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New York Legislators could vote as early as Tuesday on the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state. Word of a compromise on language began to circulate last week, but it wasn’t until the weekend when the actual text of the legislation was released. the legislation is 128 pages longs.

Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) said, “At long last, marijuana reform is finally almost a reality in New York State. Through the tireless work of people impacted by prohibition, advocates and champion lawmakers, like Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, New York is on the precipice of ushering in a new era of marijuana justice. Advancing legalization in New York also puts another nail in the coffin of the war on drugs that has devastated so many communities across the state. By comprehensively addressing the harms of past criminalization, this legislation will create one of the most ambitious marijuana legalization programs in the country. It is setting a national model for reform with community reinvestment, social equity, and justice front and center.”

This is a summary of the main components of the 128-page New York marijuana legalization bill according to Marijuana Moment:

  • -Adults 21 and older would be able to possess and purchase marijuana products from licensed retailers.
  • -There would be no penalties for public possession of up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of marijuana concentrates, and people could store up to five pounds of cannabis at home.
  • -Adults could also cultivate up to six plants for personal use, three of which could be mature. A maximum of 12 plants could be grown per household with more than one adult. Homegrow would not take effect until regulators set rules for it, and they would have a maximum of six months to do so for medical patients and must do so for adult-use consumers no later than 18 months after the first retail recreational sales begin.
  • -People with convictions for marijuana-related activity made legal under the legislation would have their records automatically expunged.
  • -A system of licenses for commercial cultivators, processors, distributors, retailers, cooperatives and nurseries would be created, with a prohibition on vertical integration except for microbusinesses.
  • -Social consumption sites and delivery services would be permitted.
  • -Individual jurisdictions would be allowed to opt-out of allowing retailers or social consumption sites by the end of this year, but residents could seek to override such bans via a local referendum process.
  • -A new Office of Cannabis Management—an independent agency operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority—would be responsible for regulating the recreational cannabis market as well as the existing medical marijuana and hemp programs and would be overseen by a five-member Cannabis Control Board. Three members would be appointed by the governor, and the Senate and Assembly would appoint one member each.
  • -The legislation sets a goal of having 50 percent of marijuana business licenses issued to social equity applicants, defined as people from “communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition” as well as minority- and women-owned businesses, disabled veterans and financially distressed farmers.
  • -Cannabis products would be subject to a state tax of nine percent, plus an additional four percent local tax that would be split between counties and cities/towns/villages, with 75 percent of the local earnings going to the municipalities and 25 percent to the counties. Marijuana distributors would also face a THC tax based on type of product, as follows: 0.5 cents per milligram for flower, 0.8 cents per milligram for concentrated cannabis and 3 cents per milligram for edibles.
  • -Tax revenue from marijuana sales would cover the costs of administering the program. After that, 40 percent of the remaining dollars would go to a community reinvestment fund, 40 percent would support the state’s public schools and 20 percent would fund drug treatment facilities and public education programs.
  • -Police could not use the odor of cannabis to justify searches.
  • -The State Department of Health would oversee a study of technologies for detecting cannabis-impaired driving, after which it could approve and certify the use of such a test. Additional funds for drug recognition experts also would be made available.
  • -The state’s existing medical cannabis program would also be changed to expand the list of qualifying conditions and allow patients to smoke marijuana products. Patients could also obtain a 60-day, rather than 30-day, supply.
  • -Smokable hemp flower sales would be allowed.
  • -Current medical cannabis businesses could participate in the recreational market in exchange for licensing fees that will help to fund the social equity program.

Anne Oredeko, Supervising Attorney of the Racial Justice Unit, and Anthony Posada, Supervising Attorney of the Community Justice Unit at The Legal Aid Society, issued a joint statement saying, “For decades, New York State’s racist war on marijuana ensnared thousands of our clients – nearly all of whom are from Black and Latinx communities – and other New Yorkers from communities of color across the state, resulting in needless incarceration and a host of other devastating consequences. This landmark legislation brings justice to New York State by ending prohibition, expunging conviction records that have curtailed the opportunities of countless predominately young Black and Latinx New Yorkers, and delivers economic justice to ensure that communities who have suffered the brunt of aggressive and disparate marijuana enforcement are first in line to reap the economic gain.”

 

 


Debra BorchardtMarch 25, 2021
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Word came out of Albany late Wednesday afternoon that legislators had reached an agreement on the language of legislation regarding the legalization of adult-use cannabis. There are two competing bills for the law – the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The word is that the bill that was agreed upon included the contentious home grow issue, delivery, social consumption, and the removal of the license auction. However, there is no confirmation on the actual language that was included which could receive a vote next week. It is expected that it will take at least one year before sales can take place.

“I believe New York is the progressive capital of the nation—not just because we say it is but because we perform that way. And legalizing cannabis is this year’s priority to be the progressive capital of the nation,” Cuomo said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “We won’t be the first, but our program will be the best.”

The legislation will still need to be written into the budget and it could still be changed and be rewritten. “It is my understanding that the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support,” state Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger told Bloomberg Government on Wednesday.

Medical marijuana is already legal in New York, but this legislation would legalize recreational cannabis use for adults 21 years old and up. Krueger said that there would be a 13% sales tax, 9% of which would go to the state and 4% to the localities. Distributors additionally would collect an excise tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, with a sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency.

One of the biggest issues holding back negotiations was the ability to grow cannabis in the home. The rumor was that six plants per person would be allowed with 12 plants per household. Home grow wouldn’t begin until 2024. Another issue is that localities would be able to deny delivery, retail and home grow.

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

  • The state Health Department would be required to study devices that are supposed to test saliva to determine if a person is impaired from marijuana, though there’s skepticism among lawmakers about the effectiveness of such technology.
  • Police would be allowed to use the odor of cannabis to identify impairment, though they could not use it to justify a search a vehicle.
  • Driving while impaired from marijuana would result in a violation, rather than a misdemeanor. However, that component may be further revised before the final bill is released.
  • The state’s existing medical cannabis program would also be changed to expand the list of qualifying conditions and allow patients to smoke marijuana products. Patients could also obtain a 60-day, rather than 30-day, supply.

The governor’s office estimates that a legal cannabis program could pull in about $350 million a year once fully implemented. Existing medical dispensaries could add four additional sites under the proposal, two of which would have to be in underserved areas, she said. Registered medical marijuana organizations would be able to add two adult-use dispensaries, Krueger said.

Matt Hawkins, Founder and Managing Partner of cannabis-focused PE firm, Entourage Effect Capital said, “Great news that a three-way agreement for adult-use cannabis has been reached in the state of New York. This potential $2.5B marketplace will have a similar monumental impact on the industry as California’s adult-use passage in 2016. We at Entourage Effect Capital look forward to investing in the state upon legalization.”

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

The MRTA:

  • Under the MRTA there are still two arrestable offenses: sale to a person under the age of 21 and the unlicensed sale of over a pound of marijuana.
  • The MRTA establishes 21 as the legal age of use for marijuana and marijuana products.
  • The MRTA establishes the Bureau of Marijuana Policy to assume regulatory responsibility of the marijuana industry. The Bureau will be housed within the existing State Liquor Authority and will undertake the similar purpose of providing oversight, promulgating regulations, and issuing licenses.
  • Under the MRTA, individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants at home and retain the fruits of those plants.
    People who have been convicted of low-level possession (including possession in public view) and low-level sale will have that conviction vacated from their record.
  • Under the MRTA, the Bureau of Marijuana Policy will award licenses to produce, process, test, dispense, distribute, and deliver marijuana.
  • The MRTA restricts vertical integration to provide the maximum amount of space for new companies to develop and contribute to a New York-focused market.
  • Tax revenue will be used to conduct studies analyzing the impacts of marijuana legalization on public health, public safety, youth use, the state economy, the environment, and on the criminal justice system. Additional funds will be distributed to study the efficacy of New York’s regulations and their success in ensuring diversity and inclusion in licensing
  • The MRTA does not touch the Compassionate Care Act and the medical marijuana program that it established

The CRTA:

  • The CRTA would establish the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) within the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control. The OCM would be governed by a five-member Cannabis Control Board, appointed by the governor, to oversee the adult-use, medical, and cannabinoid (CBD) hemp industries. Under the governor’s proposal, the governor would appoint all five members and the chair, who would also serve as the board’s executive director.
  • The CRTA removes delivery licenses and mandates that cultivators and/or processors wholesale adult-use products through licensed distributors.
  • The CRTA mandates the OCM to establish a Social and Economic Equity Plan (the Equity Plan) that “actively promotes racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the adult-use cannabis industry and prioritizes applicants who qualify as a minority and women-owned business, social equity applicant, or disadvantaged farmer and which positively impacts areas that have been harmed through disproportionate enforcement of the war on drugs.”
  • The CRTA sets forth a local opt-out provision whereby all counties and cities with a population of 100,000 or more residents would have the opportunity to pass a local law, ordinance, or resolution by a majority vote of their governing body to opt out of the adult-use cannabis program. Local governments that participate in the adult-use cannabis program will be able to further regulate the time, place, and manner of cannabis operations through zoning powers.

StaffMarch 15, 2021
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On Monday, New York State Governor Cuomo Cuomo said “passing marijuana reform and legalizing recreational marijuana” remains a priority and that he spent the weekend speaking with Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D), who is the sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), “working through” the legislation. He said they are “very close on marijuana.” However, some of the sticking points on getting the legislation passed include decisions surround growing cannabis at home and continuing the use of stop and frisk measures when cannabis is smelled.

Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) said, “Today’s Siena poll confirms that New Yorkers across the board are overwhelmingly in favor of marijuana legalization. Nearly 60 percent of New York State residents support legal marijuana for adult use — and it’s universal. Literally every single category of voters from every corner of the state — women, men, liberals, conservatives, from upstate, downstate and everywhere in between — supports legal marijuana now. Given this broad-based mandate, it is imperative that the absolute best marijuana reform bill becomes law. We urge swift passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (S.854/A.1248) to secure justice, jobs, and equity for the millions of New Yorkers that have borne the brunt of marijuana criminalization and restitution for the communities most harmed by the war on drugs. The time to act is now.”

“We’ve tried to do that for the past three years, we have to get it done this year,” he said. “There’s been too many young lives that have been ruined because of the marijuana laws.”

The actual language is as follows:

Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act: The Assembly proposes to continue discussions with the Executive and the Senate to provide for the legalization and regulation of the cultivation, production, sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adult-use, expanding the existing medical cannabis program and address the collateral consequences of the criminalization of cannabis. The Assembly supports the establishment of a centralized regulatory approach for the licensure and regulation of medical, adult-use, and hemp-based cannabis and cannabis
products and businesses through the creation of a regulatory body comprised of legislative and executive appointments, as well as ex-officio agency representation from agencies
involved in implementation.

The Assembly also supports provisions to: reduce criminal penalties attributed to future cannabis-related activity; expand the ability of individuals to vacate or expunge certain lower level past cannabis convictions; protect legal rights in the workplace; ensure appropriate standards and protections are in place as it relates to public assistance, child care workers, foster parents and investigations of child abuse, neglect, and endangerment involving the use of cannabis; provide access to business mentoring, application process assistance, incubators, capital and other social equity programs necessary to support the long-term success of social and economic equity applicants as part of a plan  to award percent of adult-use cannabis licenses to individuals in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by past criminalization of cannabis, communities of color, minority- and women-owned business, disadvantaged farmers and service-disabled veterans; establish a reasonable tax structure related to the sale of adult-use cannabis; provide for personal cultivation; ensure access to medical cannabis is maintained and expanded; recognize community priorities through local opt-out provisions from the adult-use market; and other priorities deemed necessary and appropriate.

The Assembly maintains that it is critically important that revenue generated from legalization of cannabis be invested in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by past criminalization of cannabis, including creating a Community Grants Reinvestment Fund. Therefore, the Assembly will further continue discussions on how to direct revenue to ensure that funds will be used for: public education; job creation, skills development and training; social justice and reentry services for impacted communities; substance use disorder services and mental health services; community-based supportive services; expanded training for state and local law enforcement to maintain driver safety; and any other uses deemed necessary and appropriate.

“This is not about getting in the red zone anymore,” he added, using a football metaphor. “We have to get over the goal line this time. We need the seven points.”


StaffJanuary 11, 2021
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6min14220

Governor Andrew Cuomo confidently stated that New York will legalize adult-use marijuana in his state of the state address on Monday.

“We will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis, joining 15 other states who’ve already done so,” Cuomo said in the speech. “This will raise revenue and will end the over-criminalization of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated.”

This statement follows last week’s announcement that he would pursue legislation in 2021 to establish a legal market for marijuana in New York, which would effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State and create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol for adults over the age of 21.

New York lawmakers pre-filed a bill to legalize marijuana last week. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Liz Krueger (D) and 18 other lawmakers. The new legislation is identical to a version she filed last year which never went further than being filed.

Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) said, “By including marijuana reform in today’s State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo has signaled that this is a top priority in this year’s legislative session. When it comes to responsibly regulating marijuana, it’s critical that we don’t just get this done, but we get it right. Equity must be the guiding force, and we will continue to work with the Governor’s administration and legislative leaders to ensure any new law comprehensively addresses the harms to communities wrought by the war on drugs through dedicated community reinvestment. New Yorkers are more ready than ever to create a new paradigm for marijuana reform. Let’s make 2021 the year for marijuana justice.”

Under the Governor’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.


Debra BorchardtJanuary 6, 2021
shutterstock_511330249-1.jpg?fit=1200%2C1667&ssl=1

8min13621

New York’s Governor Cuomo announced he will pursue legislation in 2021 to establish a legal market for marijuana in New York, which would effectively end marijuana prohibition in New York State and create a system to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol for adults over the age of 21.

Under the Governor’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.

“Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

Melissa Moore, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance and member of Start SMART NY Coalition (Sensible Marijuana Access through Regulated Trade) said, “New York still has the opportunity to lead the country on cannabis legalization by establishing the most ambitious and progressive legalization program in the U.S. and implementing cannabis legalization from a social justice lens where other states have fallen short. 2021 is the right time for marijuana justice in New York and the budget period is a crucial time for advancing legalization, which can be an economic engine driving wealth and equity in marginalized communities and providing space for alternative economic systems—if we work intentionally.”

She went on to say, “Governor Cuomo and the legislature can cement New York as the national model for marijuana legalization by centering community reinvestment, equity, and justice within our comprehensive reform. We can do this by making our legalization effort one that benefits those who have been harmed by prohibition and focusing on creating equitable jobs and small businesses across the state as New York looks to recover from the pandemic. Given New York’s appalling history with racially-biased marijuana enforcement, we must be bold and innovative in creating justice and equity.”

Cresco Labs’ (OTC: CRLBF) CEO Charlie Bachtell said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for calling for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the State of New York. We support his equity-centric approach to legalization as it will have a transformational impact on the state’s constituents, creating opportunities for those impacted by the War on Drugs and ensuring that cannabis develops into a responsible and respectable industry in New York.”


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