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Update on NY’s push for pro-business legal cannabis opportunities

We have referenced New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act in a few prior blog posts, noting its pro-business slant and apparent inclination toward real reform in the cannabis sphere.

The MRTA has been broadly recognized across the country as legislation to be studied and emulated in other states that are also looking to provide new opportunities to business participants. We stressed in a November 14 blog post from last year that the MRTA “espouses a legal philosophy that is unquestionably bold and forward-looking.”

Where does that would-be law stand now? It has commanded both momentum and broad-based support but is now arguably stalled in its tracks.

And the reason why is clear. A New York publication spotlighting developments in the state’s cannabis legalization scheme notes the damaging effects of the current health pandemic on commercial opportunity and expansion. The Democrat & Chronicle underscores that New York’s hope “to legalize marijuana as a way of raising revenue, lowering incarceration rates and getting a piece of a rapidly growing business sector” is currently stalled.

That is unfortunate, given that a sizable majority of New Yorkers say they support cannabis legalization.

The realities surrounding COVID-19 have put a dent in marijuana’s controlled legalization and projected timetable, but supporters don’t believe that the MRTA will be permanently sidetracked. One state representative says that “when the storm settles … we are going to pass some form of legalization.”