New York Senate passes historic adult-use marijuana bill

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(This story has been updated to reflect that the Senate passed the adult-use bill).

The New York state Senate on Tuesday night passed a landmark recreational marijuana bill by a vote of 40 to 23.

New York’s Assembly is now considering the bill.

The quick action comes just days after legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed on the main details of the measure.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that a recreational marijuana market in New York would generate $2.3 billion in annual sales by its fourth full year.

Sales could begin as soon as a year from after the measure is enacted.

The bill provides huge licensing opportunities and support to social equity applicants and microbusinesses. In fact, the measure has a stated goal to issue 50% of adult-use licenses to social and economic equity applicants.

Microbusinesses would be allowed to have vertical operations.

The state’s 10 existing medical marijuana operators could enter the adult-use market, but they would pay large licensing fees to do so. The fees would help fund the social equity programs.

The medical marijuana companies would be permitted to operate three adult-use stores apiece, co-locating them with three of their MMJ dispensaries.

Existing MMJ companies also could double their current number of dispensaries from four to eight, provided two are in unserved or underserved areas.

Cannabis products would be taxed at 13%, of which 9% would go to the state and 4% to localities.

A state cannabis advisory board would be created, with the authority to:

  • Recommend a number of licenses “to ensure a competitive market where no licensee is dominant in the statewide marketplace or in any individual category of licensing.”
  • To “actively promote and potentially license social and economic equity applicants.”

– Jeff Smith