Envisioning legal cannabis in New York state

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – At the Capitol when it comes to legalizing marijuana in New York, there are different visions of how to get it done. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed one, and the other came from legislator leaders.

 “The time is now and every day we waste those jobs and opportunities that are not created,” said Kaelan Castetter, Director of Policy Analysis at Castetter Cannabis Group.

Castetter says the state is already behind when it comes to legalizing marijuana. “It’s needed. We are falling behind. Our neighbors in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine all have recreational adult-use marijuana already in place,” he said.

There are two competing proposals at the NYS Capitol for an adult use cannabis program.

Governor Cuomo announced with his 30-day amendments to establish a comprehensive adult-use cannabis program in New York. Specifically, these amendments will detail how the $100 Million in Social Equity funding will be allocated, enable the use of delivery services, and refine which criminal charges will be enforced as it relates to the improper sale of cannabis to further reduce the impact on communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.

“We don’t have any agreement yet, but I believe we are making progress. Legalized marijuana is something we have tried to do for several years,” Cuomo said.

The second proposal is by local lawmakers who are proposing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

Jeremy Unruh is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for PharmaCann Inc. He believes both proposals can increase revenue for the state, but they have their differences.

“The primary difference is how tax revenues will be allocated to support community redevelopment. It will also affect how those funds are going to be used for social equity purposes, and for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs,” said Unruh.

Many believe that either proposal can create revenue and supply jobs for New Yorkers.

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