This election, New Jersey voters will decide if the state should legalize marijuana. If passed, this could possibly accelerate legislative efforts in New York where Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said legalizing adult-use marijuana could be a way to help with the state's multi-billion-dollar budget deficit.
Carlyn Buckler is an associate professor of practice with Cornell University’s School of Integrative Plant Science and an expert on the cannabis industry. Buckler says that marijuana legalization can lead to revenue gains, but due to expensive startup costs for cannabis growers and processors, it may be years before legalization in New York — if passed — would help to make up for the coronavirus-fueled budget deficit.
“States – especially California – have had huge gains in revenue from marijuana, but that took a long time. It all depends on how the regulations, taxes and incentives are implemented, and what we wind up in the hole for with COVID-19. Startup costs in this industry are significant, and if we’re going to get this off the ground, growers and processors will need capital in the form of low-cost loans, etc. It may be years before that money can come around to help make up for what COVID-19 has done.
“There is, unfortunately, very little state-to-state post legislation data on how states that have legalized marijuana have influenced the states around them who have not. This is a state-by-state business and each has their own laws and regulations. What happens in New Jersey will probably not have that much affect in New York. What will make a difference, is farmers and those who want to get into the industry contacting Cuomo and state legislators to express their support for the legislation.”
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