Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization was a Key Talking Point During NY State of the State Address

Olive Lundegaard, January 16, 2020: “Let’s legalize Adult-use marijuana,” Governor Cuomo said during his State of the State address on Wednesday.  Cuomo did not offer any policy updates, but stressed his support for the legislation he proposed last year.

Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization
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In 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to legalize and tax Adult-use marijuana. Cuomo proposed that the earliest that legal sales would be available would be April 2020. His proposal outlines three separate taxes that would affect Marijuana sales, most of which would affect the cultivation and wholesale distribution phase, not the retail phase of sale.

The Governor’s office anticipates that legalizing Adult-use marijuana would generate $300 million a year in state revenue when the program is fully implemented. Cuomo plans to use the tax revenue money to fund a variety of programs, including regulation costs, data gathering, boosting traffic-safety measures, substance-abuse programs, and a small-business development fund to benefit the State. 

Already in 2019, a new legislation was passed to decriminalize marijuana. Although it is still illegal, decriminalizing adult-use marijuana reduces the charge for carrying. The legislation even anticipates removing low-level marijuana carrying convictions from thousands of New York residents’ records. 

Anticipated Benefits of the Adult-use Cannabis program:

  • Reduce impacts of criminalization affecting communities of color;
  • Automatically seal certain cannabis-related criminal records;
  • Implement quality control and consumer protections to safeguard public health;
  • Counties and large cities may opt-out.