Industry leaders say legalizing pot critical to stop black-market sales

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Cannabis industry leaders says that legalizing cannabis in New York is a critical step in eliminating the black market, but some legislators are still not convinced.

Governor Cuomo has announced his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in New York State, and he says the industry will eventually lead to the creation of 60,000 new jobs and $3.5 billion in economic activity.

“You’re going to unleash an incredible amount of demand into the market. It’s a precedent that’s been seen in many, many other states,” said Dennis O’Neill, President of BIOMEDICAN, a biotech startup company that produces rare cannabinoids.

O’Neill has watched recreational marijuana use become legal in other states, and feels it’s a critical step to stop fueling black markets that sell marijuana products. This way, they can be taxed, and ultimately safer to use.

“You can start regulating the quality and efficacy of the actual product that’s being consumed,” O’Neill said.

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec is against the governor’s plan. Among his concerns are suspicions of the actual financial upside it would have for the state, and the message it will send to younger generations.

“How do we scientifically test individuals for impairment while driving? Why has the state led an assault on tobacco just to pivot and support smoking marijuana,” Brabenec wrote in a statement.

While the state says that legalizing recreational marijuana will bring in a lot of tax revenue, they also say it’ll take years to fully implement.

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