VIDEO: New York, America’s Weed Mecca
Welcome to my Weekly Weed Report video presentation. The article below is a condensed transcript; the video contains charts and additional details.
There’s a slang phrase that I sometimes hear my friends in Manhattan use: “I give you props.” It means they are acknowledging or giving credit.
Today, let’s give props to the efforts of New York, both the state and city, to boost the prospects of marijuana.
Marijuana is becoming more pervasive nationwide as a legal consumer product, that much is clear. But the drug also is gaining greater respectability in professional and educational settings.
The populous, affluent, and influential state…and metropolis…that carry the moniker “New York” are accelerating this cultural seachange. Let’s take a look at the latest ways in which New Yorkers are embracing marijuana.
When New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis on March 31, 2021, the door opened to one of the largest marijuana markets in the world. The Empire State is becoming a marijuana mecca.
Accordingly, the state’s capital raises and merger and acquisition activity in the cannabis sector have skyrocketed, following the legislature’s legalization of adult-use cannabis.
And what’s occurring among marijuana regulators in that state is setting an example for the rest of the country.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced that the state awarded $5 million in funding for community colleges to develop courses and programs specifically designed to prepare students to enter the marijuana industry.
New York is scheduled to launch marijuana retailers this year. To kick off this initiative, one City University of New York (CUNY) community college will receive $2 million in aid and three State University of New York (SUNY) community colleges will receive $1 million each.
The money will fund both degree and non-degree courses, with an emphasis on preparing students for near-immediate entry into the marijuana workforce.
Governor Hochul stated: “New York’s new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful.”
The U.S. Department of Labor will partner with New York state’s Office of Cannabis Management to connect graduates of cannabis college courses with related employment opportunities.
Hochul also released a State-of-the-State book establishing the creation of a $200 million public-private fund specifically designed to promote social equity and job generation in the state’s marijuana market.
According to the governor’s executive budget, New York is set to reap more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years. That’s plenty of money to ensure steady funding for these and other marijuana initiatives.
New York also has extensive plans for the future of cannabis cultivation. A state bill is in the works to legalize community gardens for growing marijuana for those who are unable to grow in their own homes.
Along those lines, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has proposed a plan that would encourage rooftop gardens throughout New York City for growing marijuana for both personal use and business supply. Not surprisingly, his rooftop garden plan is extremely popular with city residents and local marijuana entrepreneurs.
That said, as the state gears up to begin adult-use licensing this year, it’s cracking down on unlicensed marijuana businesses.
Marijuana regulators in the state have sent cease and desist letters to 52 unlicensed cannabis retailers. These retailers are being warned that if they don’t comply, they won’t be welcomed at the start of the new legal wave of cannabis retailers coming in the second half of 2022.
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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.