New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined his plan to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use in his 2021 State of the State Monday, saying that the industry will eventually lead to 60,000 new jobs, $3.5 billion in economic activity, and $300 million in tax revenue.
Under Cuomo's proposal, an Office of Cannabis Management will set standards for the industry by "limiting the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishing stringent quality and safety controls including strict regulation of the packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing of all cannabis products."
New York, which currently has a limited medical marijuana industry, would join 15 states and Washington, D.C. where marijuana is legal recreationally.
Adam Goers, vice president of Corporate Affairs at medical cannabis provider Columbia Care, said New York has the advantage of learning from the mistakes that other states have made.
"New York has the opportunity to create a dynamic, long-lasting, vibrant and successful cannabis industry," Goers told FOX Business. "And luckily for New York, they have the experience of so many states that have come before them."
New York's legalization effort has been in the works for years, with the state decriminalizing possession in 2019 and the Department of Health coming out in favor of legalization in 2018.
States surrounding New York are also ahead of them, as Vermont and Massachusetts already have legal industries and New Jersey just passed legalization in November.
"If New York waits too long, or they don’t encourage folks to get involved in the market right away, with the cusp of federal normalization ahead, it’s possible that New York may miss its window to really invest and make sure that they have a vibrant, long-lasting cultivation and processing industry," Goers said.
The push for legalization got a boost with the victories of Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia's Senate election runoffs last week, as Democrats will soon control the Presidency and both chambers of Congress.
"This is part of a bigger picture that all states will sooner or later legalize cannabis and ultimately the federal government will do so as well," Dennis O’Neill, the president of BIOMEDICAN, a company that synthesizes cannabinoids, told FOX Business.