A few days into 2021, Governor Cuomo announced his proposals to legalize and establish an equitable adult-use marijuana program in the year. But who stands to benefit?
The New York marijuana market is worth over $1.8 billion based on 2018 data and is projected to grow at a rate of 14.7% annually by 2025. The use of marijuana has been legalized in the state for clinical purposes, and these numbers look even more promising following Cuomo’s message.
However, most cannabis is sold through illegal channels. In an effort to curb illicit trafficking, the state is keen on reducing prices and improving product surveillance.
The use of marijuana in managing diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s cancer, and emotional disorders such as depression is rising.
There are innumerable guides on how to apply for a medical marijuana card in N.Y., and the growing accessibility to medical marijuana in the state, together with the foreseeable approval of its recreational use, will be the key drivers of the market.
Need for expanded medical usage
Legalizing marijuana might help to reduce the illicit marijuana trade, create new jobs, and generate more revenue. Revenue may be made by the state in the form of taxes levied.
Also, increased awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana may empower several New York-registered medical professionals who are okay with prescribing marijuana, enabling an increase in access to the alternative therapy.
Although medical cannabis is legalized to be used on various medical conditions in various states, medical marijuana in New York has been limited to the use in management of HIV, cancer, neuropathy, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and PTSD.
This limited number of applications for medical marijuana in the state could hamper growth in the future.
Not a business for the poor
Although the market is open to marijuana after its official legalization in many states, access to banks remains a significant problem for entrepreneurs that need financial assistance. This may play out the same way in NYC after the decriminalization of the recreational use of marijuana.
Banks aren’t accommodative towards cannabis business owners, which has resulted in financial challenges and many unfavorable circumstances. This reason is that federally, marijuana is still illegal.
Therefore, financial challenges related to the marijuana business and the ban on interstate trade will likely interfere with growth to a greater degree.
The racist history
The racial disparities in all past marijuana arrest cases are dumbfounding no matter what state you look at.
The difference is only found in their level of severity. Despite changes in public opinion regarding marijuana, as evidenced by the legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use, many states continue to arrest and convict possession of marijuana.
It appears to be a white man’s opportunity. They are ready to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of making a lot of money selling cannabis, ironically – after 40 years of poor black children getting jail time for selling the same thing.
The irony of the law
Aside from the need for money to start and run a marijuana dispensary—something that minorities lack, there is the matter of past convictions and how it affects business license application.
Many states that have legalized it prevent a person guilty of a previous felony from opening a dispensary.
Ironically, most minorities who are convicted felons were charged for a crime that is now soon to be legal—selling marijuana.
The Minority Cannabis Business Association has proposed new legislation models addressing these issues to reduce some of the barriers to entry into the cannabis industry for minorities.
While these programs and organizations help raise awareness and shed light on inequality, they have not achieved any significant legal changes in the states that have fully legalized marijuana.
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