ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Before the first marijuana retailers open their doors to customers, there is much work left to be done by the state and municipalities. Many questions still remain about what New York’s marijuana economy will look like.
Helping cannabis businesses with state and local laws since 2010, law firm Vicente Sederberg has been paying close attention to New York’s evolving adult-use marijuana laws. The law firm said they have worked out what some of the regulations will mean for people who may be interested in opening a cannabis-related business in New York in a webinar on Wednesday.
What they do know, they said, is that licensing for cannabis-related businesses like cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers is likely to be highly competitive because of the adult-use marijuana’s equity provisions.
New York’s dedication to equity within the market is unique, also unique is the state’s potency tax, the law firm said. State legislation states 50% of all licenses must be given to groups that have been most negatively impacted by previous marijuana drug laws like minorities, women, and disabled veterans.
More potent marijuana products will also be taxed at a higher rate. Vicente Sederberg said they believe this is to regulate potency in the market.
What about the ability of municipalities to opt out?
Cities, towns, and villages will be able to opt-out of having retail stores and be able to restrict public use, but will not be able to opt-out of having cultivation, delivery, or manufacturing businesses.
Localities have until the end of the year to opt out, but there’s a good reason they may not want to. Municipalities that opt out of retail and/or public use will not receive any sales tax from marijuana sales.
What happens if a municipality changes its mind? They can opt back in through a referendum.
Localities that opt-out must also determine when and where marijuana use is acceptable within their borders.
Vicente Sederberg lawyers said draft legislation could be presented for public comment by the end of the year and marijuana sales in New York could start within 12 to 18 months.