By Evaristo Gomez
Cannabis legalization in the Northeast has provided much-needed wins in cannabis. For instance, New York and Connecticut have entered the market as of July 2021. Both states join the ranks of 16 other states and Washington D.C. that legalized adult-use cannabis. With every victory nudging the United States in the right direction, legalization will impact the cannabis market.
Retail sales in New York and Connecticut will begin in 2022 for adult use.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York signed a bill on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, legalizing adult-use cannabis. After all, New York legalization will open up one of the largest markets in the United States. New York City is home to over 8 million people. It is the largest city in the United States by population size.
The city is home to major industries from entertainment to investing. Soon, cannabis will be another one. Gov. Andrew Cuomo projects the industry could generate $350 million in tax revenue. Also, the industry would create many jobs. Between 30,000 and 60,000 jobs will be made by cannabis legalization.
Additionally, the New York legalization bill will expand programs to include those disproportionately affected by cannabis criminalization. New York has a history of devastating the livelihood of specific communities. For that reason, legislators in New York hope the bill will provide a more equitable future in the cannabis industry.
Furthermore, Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut signed a bill on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, that legalized recreational cannabis for adult use. The bill provides a roadmap for those looking to consume cannabis and cultivate it.
Connecticut’s cannabis market is not as large a market as New York’s cannabis market. Nonetheless, Gov. Lamont and Connecticut legislators are confident in the bill created.
“We had a chance to learn from others, and I think we’ve got it right here in the state of Connecticut,” said Lamont.
The University of Connecticut published a study to back the statement of Gov. Lamont. Ultimately, cannabis can generate $780 million and $952 million in taxes within the first five years of its implementation. However, the first couple of years does not expect to generate high tax revenue. State tax revenue from adult-use cannabis expects to exceed $200 million per year after the first five years.
The Connecticut legalization bill does provide a framework to expunge the record of those with a cannabis possession conviction. As a matter of fact, this portion of the bill places a critical focus on themes found in recent cannabis legislation: diversity and equity.
From January 1, 2000, to September 30, 2015, those incarcerated on possession charges will have their record cleared. This process will begin in 2023. Individuals convicted of possession charges outside of this date range can apply for an expunged record in July 2022.
Also, Connecticut is attempting to gain socioeconomic diversity in its licensing. The state will reserve half of all licenses given to grow and sell cannabis for low-income applicants.
Rhode Island has made headway in its efforts to legalize recreational cannabis. So far, those who medically need to consume cannabis are welcome in Rhode Island. Cannabis was already decriminalized in Rhode Island by the state. With this in mind, the next step is the legalization of cannabis for adult use.
As a result, a bill was proposed on June 23, 2021, to legalize adult-use cannabis. The proposition expects a delay. The bill will not make it to either chamber of the state’s legislative body until later this year. However, Rhode Island could see cannabis sales within the next five years.
Above all, New Jersey’s court vacated 88,000 cannabis cases in the state. Following the enactment of the Marijuana Decriminalization Law on July 1, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the court to begin processing cases immediately.
In addition, New Jersey will vacate up to 360,000 cases. New Jersey hopes it will streamline the expungement, dismissal, and vacating processes.
The Northeast is a powerful, economically diverse region. The legalization of cannabis in the Northeast provides enormous wins for the cannabis industry. There has been unprecedented support for the cannabis industry. Currently, New Hampshire is the only state holding out on the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
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