Could New York’s limited medical cannabis program hamper a new adult-use market?

October 28, 2020

New York could potentially become one of the biggest marijuana markets in the world, but its existing medical cannabis program is heavily regulated and has experts questioning how a possible adult-use market would fare.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to steer adult-use legalization through the state Legislature by next spring.And next week’s legalization vote in New Jersey likely will only increase pressure on New York to do so, if not hasten the timeline.

But a strong transition to a commercial recreational marijuana market in New York could be hampered by the fact the state’s MMJ program remains one of the most restrictive in the country. Hurdles include a ban on smokable flower, limited licenses, a relatively small number of dispensaries and patient-access issues.

Ngiste Abebe, president of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association and director of public policy for New York-based Columbia Care, said allowing existing MMJ operators to launch the adult-use program could provide funding for social equity as well as generate other tax revenues for the state.

“I think there are a lot of fiscal advantages” to this approach, she said.

Read more at Marijuana Business Daily