Cuomo Finally Details His Plans For Legal Cannabis In NY

Read How High Taxes Could Inhibit Illicit Sales

Finally!! If you have been closely watching and waiting for legal cannabis to make its way to the Empire State (New York), you will be happy to hear that the wait is almost over.

Late this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined more details of his plans to bring recreational cannabis to New York, after making the initial announcement during his annual 'State of the State' address in the capital last week*.

*You can watch the video of his address in full, see below.

Despite trying to get this legislation passed in both 2019 and 2020, many people believe this might be the year Cuomo will be able to get it done.

In addition to widespread voter approval and a ton of support among fellow lawmakers, Democrats have majority control of Congress and a Democrat in the White House. 2021 definitely seems to be shaping up as the year of the green revolution. Advocates believe there could also be major changes at the federal level given the Biden administration's stance on cannabis.

While much of Cuomo's plan is similar to the one he has released before, there are some differences worth noting.

What Has Changed?
  • A new tax structure would be applied to the sale of cannabis and cannabis infused products at the wholesale level. Instead of charging a tax based on the monetary value of the cannabis, wholesale purchases will be taxed by the potency of the product.
  • Flower, pre-rolls and shake would be subject to a tax of seven-tenths of a cent per milligram of THC
  • Cannabis infused products, including edibles, would be taxed at a rate of one cent per milligram of THC.
  • Cannabis concentrates, concentrate oil and topical treatments would be taxed at a rate of 4 cents per milligram.
  • At the consumer level, the tax rate proposed is also a new change, which would be 10.25% plus state and local taxes. Depending on where in the state you live the final tax could be as low 17% and as high as 18.75% in New York City. This is still much below the previously preposed tax of 20%.
  • Tax revenue allocation. $100 million over the course of four years will be earmarked for social equity purposes including reinvestment in communities most damaged by the war on drugs. The remainder will be sent to the newly created Cannabis Revenue Fund.

When it comes to passing legislation like the type needed for legal cannabis there are always going to be hot topic issues that make it difficult to finalize and New York certainly has its fair share. However, the biggest one that ended up stopping this bill in its tracks last year concerns the allocation of tax revenue, an issue which persists today.

Governor Cuomo has stated that social equity must play a large part in the plan to legalize marijuana, and as a result comitted $100 million to be allocated to projects like reinvesting in those most damaged by the prohibition of cannabis. The remaining funds will be earmarked for the Cannabis Revenue Fund.

This is an exciting time for New York and Cuomo has a chance to further solidify his place in history by getting legalization right and finally bringing legal cannabis to the Empire State.

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