New York has passed a law legalizing recreational marijuana use for people 21 and older. It also expunges past marijuana convictions while laying the groundwork for sales that could bring in a projected $350 million in annual tax revenues. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the legislation also includes "a social and economic equity program" to help those "disproportionately impacted" to participate in the new industry. Momentum around legalization has gained momentum nationally, with New York becoming the 16th state to allow recreational pot use.
Prohibition has failed!
I am SO thankful that New York is creating a pathway for legalizing marijuana in the states. I think it is long overdue. If it was truly about public health as "prohibition laws" have claimed, well, tobacco would be the most banned substance on this planet.
While states are legalizing marijuana for recreational use, I hope to also see education rising around THC - both for users, and the FDA. I don't have to be convinced that CBD and THC both have tons of health benefits. I just think that, due to its illegal history, research has been limited on THC. We need to continue learning.
How wild is New York going to be now? I don't mean "hippies blazing in the street" kind of wild. I mean... businesses have closed and millions of people have fled the city. New York is an innovation and global tourism capital. Now there are empty storefronts. Enter a $4 billion+ industry. I'm super interested to see what post-2020 New York will be like.
In addition to the legalization of recreational cannabis, medical cannabis patients will now have access to whole flower. I've witnessed the positive affects of cannabis in many loved ones, and I am so so thankful for the medical improvements that will come as a result of this change.
The deal also includes ‘equity programs’ that would provide loans, grants and incubator programs for small farmers and people from disproportionately impacted communities who want to enter the industry.
One goal of the legislation is for half of the program’s business licenses to go to so-called equity applicants, which could include disabled veterans, minority- and women-owned businesses, and people who have relatives with a marijuana conviction.
I would love to know what the incubator programs are. I'm hoping that they are education around marijuana AND business. I hope that they teach participants what they need to know to start, run, and grow a marijuana business. I hope they truly help people provide for themselves and their families, for generations to come.
I think there are many benefits to this news. I'm thankful that there are safety guards in place to steer it in a positive direction. Will New York be like a Phoenix, and rise out of its ashes?
Next up on the recreational legalization train -- Florida?