At last, the sale of adult-use cannabis in New York has been finalized and approved. This latest development is set to boost the economy of the state with at least $350 million.
Last Tuesday in March, the lawmakers in the Empire state legalized cannabis sales to residents that are over 21 years of age.
After many failed attempts to achieve this feat in the past years, this approval is well accepted by the majority of the state’s residents.
Will sales begin anytime soon?
Now that legalization is out of the way, the latest question of people’s lips is “when exactly will the sales of these products begin?”
Working with the timeframe it took other states to begin sales, I understand that it takes time to put regulations in place for a fairly new recreational cannabis market. This is because good policies have to be made, a regulatory body decided, licenses issued and enough supply to meet the demand has to be put in place by willing investors.
Luckily the government has stipulated that all these and more may take about 18 months to be put in place, and sales of adult-use pot to go into effect. Hence by July 2022, sales will begin.
Let’s take a look at preceding events.
The road to legalization; Why now?
Medicinal cannabis has been made available for New workers for a while now. At some point during the peak of the pandemic, New York recorded the highest number of medicinal marijuana users in the country. This may also be one of the factors that propelled the government to take swift steps in legalizing recreational weed.
The bigger picture shows that these new cannabis measures were taken to rectify the corrupt system that only seems to punish the poor, as well as colored residents of the state. The existing law and how it was enforced was an injustice to colored communities in the state. Studying the pattern of arrests, it is evident that the draconian laws seem to be hurting just the brown and black population of the state. This legalization came at the right time to end the partial and racial way marijuana laws are enforced in the state.
Just before the bill passed, Majority leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes in a statement said “Today we’re reversing 90 years of prohibition”. She also went further to say that the last time New York state reversed a product that had gained major support was in 1933; when the sale of alcohol was made legal.
The war on drugs in the state and also on a federal level has hurt several families. People have lost so much to pay the price for these progressive reforms that the state is putting in place now. The government is trying to make up for the loss they have had, after several attempts of filling the vacuum of their losses.
According to Peoples-Stokes, it is time for the government of Newyork to make use of this opportunity to be transformative to the lives and wellbeing of New Yorkers.
“It’s time for the government to fill the hole in a manner that not only allows affected citizens to you’ll themselves up from their bootstraps, but for them to have boots,” People-Stokes said.
Signing the bill
New York is officially the 15th state in the U.S to have a regulated adult-use cannabis market.
After a long fight was put up by cosponsors Senator Kiz Krueger and Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes (both democrats), the law was finally passed.
The New York Senate as well as the state’s Assembly approved the bill on 30 March 2021. The governor, Andrew Cuomo then signed the bill less than 24 hours later on 31st March 2021.
The released statement by the office of the governor stated that the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state is a historic feat. The bill would ensure an automatic expungement of previous cannabis convictions; as they will now be legal.
What to expect
Now, New Yorkers will be permitted to hold up to 3 ounces of weed or 24 grams of concentrates. Cannabis smoking activities can now take place in the various spots where cigarette smoking is allowed.
Most importantly, Affected individuals can immediately take steps to be expunged of their criminal records—but it has to be a non-violent conviction.
As preparations for sales continue to gear up, the medical cannabis program will also scale up as the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board takes up the mantle of regulating and overseeing the operations of the cannabis industry in New York.
In no time, New York adults will be issued permits to grow a limited number (3 mature and 3 immature) of weed plants at home. Dispensaries across the state will also begin to stock up on gummies or pre-rolls for anyone over the age of 21 to purchase.
Hopefully, by 2022, New Yorkers will have the option of ordering their weed products online and having them delivered to their homes. Provisions will also be made to create consumption lounges for residents to use cannabis.
On the legal side, the bill permits localities in the state to opt-out of having cannabis businesses, however, these communities cannot choose to refuse legalization.
The State’s total cannabis market – legal and illegal – will have an estimated value of $4.6 billion in annual sales.
By 2023, the state’s legal cannabis market is predicted to have exceeded $1.2 billion in sales and $4.2 billion by 2027.
The present administration has also estimated that a total of $350 million in annual tax revenue will be collected before a new administration comes in.
New York is about to be one of the most crucial marijuana markets around the globe. Existing dispensaries are already getting prepared for the increased demand that would begin by mid-2022. Demand is estimated to be at least 20 million customers at the end of 2022. These sales will have a fixed rate of 13% in tax.
The New York government is going to create regulations that would ensure New Yorkers don’t overplay their cards by smoking just anywhere.
The state is about to make a ton of money and hopefully, a large percentage of this expected revenue will be directed at making the state a better place for its residents.
It’s the start of a new dawn.