NY’s top cannabis regulator voices bullish timeline for adult-use launch

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New York’s top cannabis regulator said this week she hopes the state can adhere to an 18-month timeline from last March’s enactment of adult-use marijuana legislation to roll out the expected billion-dollar program.

That would seem to indicate hopes that sales could start by late 2022, rather than 2023 as many now expect.

“It’s a reasonable, although aggressive timeline,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said at the Crain’s New York Business forum. “We hope to beat it.”

Her comments reflect a more bullish estimate than the one she gave in November, when she said it would take another 18 months from then to craft regulations and issue licenses.

Wright said at the Crain’s forum that she hopes that proposed regulations will be out for public comment by January 2022 and that businesses will be able to apply for adult-use licenses before September 2022.

Another critical date is coming up: a Dec. 31 deadline for municipalities to decide whether to opt-in or opt-out of recreational marijuana.

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The Associated Press reported this week that more than 25% of the state’s towns and 30% of the villages have banned recreational marijuana stores in their jurisdictions.

The 2021 MJBizFactbook projects that recreational marijuana sales will reach $1.1 billion in the first year of the program and $2.1 billion annually by the fourth year.