Cannabis Legalization in New York: What the State’s New Study is Missing
By Noah Potter, Esquire, Of Counsel to Hoban Law Group
[Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part review regarding the status of adult-use legalization in New York State in light of the governor’s commissioned report by the Department of Health. Part 1 can be viewed here.]
On July 13, the New York State Department of Health released a comprehensive report to Governor Andrew Cuomo stating that the positive effects of legalizing cannabis would outweigh the negative effects.
The report offers no discussion of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), a legalization bill pending in the legislature since 2013. The MRTA could have been the starting point for analysis given how it proposes criminal justice reform, a tax structure, and supply side regulation of the market based on New York’s alcohol control law. It makes only a passing reference to the power of local governments for controlling the market, and it omits any reference to whether retail onsite-consumption establishments (e.g., Amsterdam-style cannabis “cafes”) could operate in accordance to New York’s indoor smoking laws.
The omission of any mention of MRTA begs the question of what legislation the next governor is likely to sign in 2019. Such legislation will define the parameters for any legalization enacted as early as that June.
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