How New York Cannabis Legalization Prioritizes Equity
After years of fits and starts, New York finally legalized adult-use cannabis and expanded its previously restrictive medical cannabis program. As the nation’s third largest economy and fourth most populous state, New York has the opportunity to set the gold standard for state cannabis industries.
New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”) establishes industry governing bodies – the Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) and the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”), creates license types across the commercial cannabis activity spectrum, sets up a social and economic equity plan, and allocates a significant portion of tax revenue from cannabis sales to social and economic equity programs.
An important political catalyst for the New York legislature’s passage of the MRTA was the expectation that tax revenue generated from cannabis sales will reduce the state’s significant budget deficit and repair of some of the economic damage caused by COVID. Another political objective was correcting social and economic injustices caused by decades of inequitable enforcement of marijuana laws.
Commercially, the MRTA aims to prevent anti-competitive behavior among licensees, creating adult-use licenses for cultivators, processors, cooperatives, distributors, retail dispensaries, microbusinesses, deliveries, cultivation nurseries, and on-site consumption. Industry rules and regulations will be created and implemented by the