NY gov wants to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2019, creating $1.7 billion market

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’d like to see the legalization of adult-use marijuana in the state early next year, which could create a $1.7 billion market, generate significant new business opportunities in the cannabis industry and curtail the state’s thriving illicit market.

According to the New York Times, Cuomo made the announcement Monday during a speech outlining his priorities for the first 100 days of his third term.

The governor’s interest in legalizing recreational marijuana comes on the heels of a state health department report he commissioned earlier this year that found “significant … economic benefits” of legalization:

  • Purchases of black-market marijuana in the state are estimated to be about 6.5 million to 10.2 million ounces annually. The New York health department anticipates roughly 1.3 million consumers would access the legal market the first year after cannabis is legalized.
  • At an average retail price of $270 per ounce, the market for recreational marijuana is estimated to be around $1.7 billion.
  • The estimated potential state and local tax revenue in the first year ranges from $248.1 million with a 7% tax rate to $677.7 million with a 15% tax rate.

The New York Senate and Assembly are likely to support legalization in line with the 63% of New Yorkers who favor it, the Times noted.