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NY's pending cannabis-linked changes: drilling down to specifics

New York legislators have obviously thought long and hard about ushering in marijuana-tied laws that focus upon adjustments yielding material changes across the state's vast business community.

We alluded to that in a recent Tarantino Law Firm blog entry. We noted in our November 2 post the pending adjustments called for in the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, stressing that they "espouse a legal philosophy that is unquestionably bold and forward-looking." The MRTA includes these key features:

  •  Licensing oversight within the state's existing Liquor Authority (application process similar to that provided for in the alcoholic beverage industry)
  • Bar on vertical integration (put another way, promotion of business opportunities to an enhanced number of commercial entrants in spheres ranging from production and testing to distribution and sales)
  • Endorsement of small-scale production and low start-up costs, underscored by a business model that favors the granting of so-called "micro licenses")
  • Relaxed licensing restrictions challenging would-be business entrants with prior drug convictions (heightened scrutiny will attach more to criminal records linked with past business crimes such as tax evasion and fraud)

State lawmakers have unquestionably vetted the pro-business scheme they envision for the cannabis industry. Detailed analysis has been conducted concerning the use of tax revenues for the public good, with funds being earmarked for public education, job training/placement and additional programs.

Potential business participants might reasonably have many questions concerning the MRTA. The licensing process is detailed. Moreover, any marijuana-linked initiative, regardless of whether it has liberalized elements, will feature challenges that must be addressed. New York's scheme, for example, underscores age requirements for applicants, zoning restrictions and additional matters.

The new legislation offers potentially exciting and magnified opportunities across New York. A proven business law team with close knowledge of the MRTA can provide further information concerning the law and serve as legal counsel for individuals and enterprises interested in expanding their commercial prospects.

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