Cannabis Legalization and Emerging States – New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Mississippi

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Cannabis Legalization and Emerging States – New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Mississippi

Lawmakers and policy advocates have been facing tremendous obstacles related to the COVID-19 epidemic and the resulting government closures. Facing budget shortfalls in connection to these public health measures many states and municipalities are exploring their options for additional revenue sources, including establishing or expanding existing cannabis markets. This report addresses the emerging cannabis markets in Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.

New York – An Emerging Cannabis Market

New York lawmakers were set to consider expanding access to Adult-use cannabis in the Governor’s budget bill 1617-C early on in 2020 until COVID-19 necessitated the closure of government offices and a stay at home order that effectively ended the legislative session early. However, legalization of cannabis for Adult-use in 2020 is not entirely off the table. As the state is now facing a revenue shortfall it may see lawmakers return for a special session to address budgetary shortfalls and the means to address them. As cannabis business licenses and businesses provide additional revenue for the state it is possible to see the legalization issue pop up in these discussions. 1617-C goes into great detail about the framework and requirements for establishing an Adult-use market in the state and whether it is picked up in an emergency session or in the next legislative session, the bill showcases the priorities for the framework for an adult-use market.

Assuming New York keeps most of the language of the bill that deals with cannabis, New York will be establishing the Cannabis Control Board and Compliance Council.

The following cannabis license types would be available if the legislation passes:

  • Cultivation, Processor, Dispensary, Distribution (designed for existing Medical Cannabis Dispensaries)
  • Cultivator Processor
  • Small Business Adult-use Cooperative Adult-use Distributor
  • Adult-use Retail Dispensary Microbusiness
  • Delivery Nursery
  • Adult-use On-site Consumption

Priorities for Processing Privileged License Applications:

  • Is the applicant a social equity applicant?
  • Will the applicant be able to maintain effective control against illegal diversion of cannabis?
  • Will the applicant be able to comply with applicable state laws and regulations?
  • Will the applicant be ready, willing, and able to properly carry on the activities for which the license is sought (including with help from the social and economic equity and incubator program)?
  • The applicant possesses or has the right to use sufficient land, buildings, and equipment to properly carry on the activity the license is for or has a plan to do so if applying as a social or economic equity applicant
  • The applicant qualifies as a social and economic equity applicant or sets out a plan for benefitting communities and people disproportionately impacted by enforcement of cannabis laws
  • Good moral character
  • Labor peace agreement (25 or more employees)
  • Contribute to communities disproportionately harmed by enforcement of cannabis laws
  • Environmental and energy impact of the facility Follows all other regulations drafted by the Board
  • Is a registered organization with the state of New York?

An examination of the language of the proposed bill clearly outlines the importance New York is placing on social and economic equity in its cannabis market.

Texas – Growing Support to Legalize Cannabis

Texas lawmakers are seeing increasing pressure to consider cannabis legalization from groups like Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. Texas officials, now facing budget shortfalls, are gradually considering options for decriminalization and potential legalization. That is not to say that 2020 holds much promise for significant movement toward legalization beyond greater potential interest. Current CBD retailers still face raids from officials even with CBD being a legal product.

New Jersey – Looking to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis in 2020

New Jersey lawmakers placed SCR 183, a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to legalize adult-use cannabis. If passed it requires the state to establish a Cannabis Regulatory Commission and would mandate that the tax on retail sales of cannabis not exceed the state’s standard sales tax of 6.625% with municipalities being afforded the option of imposing a 1-2% sales tax. In a healthy economy, the state could potentially see tax revenue of $95 million per year according to projections from Bridge West CPAs, who also note that if the state were to follow in the footsteps of states that expanded access to adult-use before and imposed an additional 10 % excise tax the tax revenues in a healthy economy could potentially be as high as $143.6 million per year.

Mississippi – 2 Deceptively Similar Medical Marijuana Initiatives On the 2020 Ballot

Policy advocates successfully collected enough signatures to get Initiative 65 onto the ballot which would legalize medical cannabis in Mississippi. State lawmakers voted to include Initiate 65A on the ballot which would also legalize cannabis for medical use for significantly fewer qualifying conditions than Initiative 65 while affording the state greater control over the potential medical cannabis industry market the Initiative would establish. Concerns have been raised that Initiative 65A has been added to the ballot to potentially split the vote and defeat both measures by confusing voters, which it has the potential to do. If Initiative 65 passes it is likely to establish a medical cannabis market similar to its predecessors with an opportunity of social equity applicants.

Conclusion – Emerging Cannabis States and Markets in 2020 and 2021

Though 2020 has been a rough year for cannabis legalization efforts it has none-the-less shown that even states that have previously been reluctant to consider legalization are now entertaining the idea. Mississippi could signal a positive shift in the legalization movement and provide opportunities for established multi-state operators to expand if Initiative 65 is successful. New York, though somewhat of a long shot at this point, does indicate with the language of 1617-C that this progressive state is making a concerted effort toward social and economic equity at a time when the call for it has never been louder.

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Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

Stephanie Till - Green Rush Indexed Data

This article was written by Stephanie Till of Green Rush Indexed Data with data compiled and provided by Bridge West CPAs. Stephanie is a Compliance Expert as well as a Historian who is currently archiving the Green Rush of the cannabis industry. The mission of her company is help clients by providing quality research services, custom tailored cannabis compliance consulting, dynamic training materials and exceptional customer service for those in the young cannabis industry.

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A Guide to New York Marijuana License Applications

Higher Yields Consulting A Guide to New York Marijuana License Applications

New York and New Jersey started out neck and neck on their paths to legalizing adult-use cannabis. Although New Jersey pulled ahead — and is set to announce the 2019 license application round winners at any moment — New York marijuana license applications are expected to follow shortly.

In New Jersey, all municipalities are opted in to the decision to allow cannabis in their towns by default, unless they decide to explicitly opt out. They have until August 21 to opt out. As we wait for more news from New Jersey, we can speculate that much of New York’s upcoming legislation will follow similar pathways.

Higher Yields Consulting A Guide to New York Marijuana License ApplicationsHere’s what to expect in regards to the upcoming New York marijuana licensing options and how you can prepare to apply.

Legalization & Delays for New York Marijuana

New York marijuana legalization started with Governor Cuomo’s Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act at the beginning of the year. In March, Cuomo and the New York legislature agreed on the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act, the main differences being related to taxes and social equity. 

Similar to New Jersey, New York municipalities have until the end of the year to opt in or out of legalization. The tax part of the bill takes effect in April, so sales wouldn’t be able to begin until after that. From this, we can deduce that the application round is likely to happen between January and April. 

However, with more potential delays due to Cuomo’s controversy and resignation, dates aren’t set in stone just yet. 

New York Marijuana License Types

Once New York marijuana license applications open up, there will be a number of different types of licenses available, such as:

  • Cultivation
  • Processor
  • Distribution
  • Retailer/Dispensary
  • Delivery

Additionally, New York will also be offering several unique and interesting license types, some of which are completely new.

Nursery License

The first of New York’s unique license types is the nursery license, which allows the license holder to produce plants — clones, immature plants, and seeds — specifically for cultivators, co-ops, and microbusinesses to buy. 

A nursery license is different from a cultivation license in that the nursery would be a standalone provider of plants to cultivators, much like a wholesaler providing goods to a manufacturer.

Co-op License

A co-op, by definition, must be democratically controlled by its members on a basis of one vote per member, and must abide by seven cooperative principles set forth by the International Cooperative Alliance

Interestingly, co-ops in New York must be owned by a New York resident. There may be a possibility for a workaround if you’re from out of state but filing in New York, but the parameters of doing so are still unclear.

Higher Yields Consulting A Guide to New York Marijuana License Applications

A co-op license is almost like a built-in, vertically integrated license, since members of a co-op are allowed to cultivate, process, distribute, and sell from the co-op. However, the caveat is that they’re not allowed to sell directly to cannabis consumers. Instead, they can only sell to licensed distributors. 

Microbusiness License

A microbusiness can be a processor, cultivator, distributor, and retailer. Usually, they have size limitations and are for state residents only. 

The limitations for New York microbusinesses have yet to be clearly defined. But judging by what New Jersey has said, we can guess that the New York marijuana microbusiness license may be limited to around 1,000 plants and a handful of members. 

On-Site Consumption License

There isn’t much available information about the New York marijuana on-site consumption license just yet, but parameters appear to be similar to Nevada’s upcoming consumption lounges

On-site consumption businesses will, of course, face location and leasing restrictions. For example, a business can’t be vertically integrated or lease property from government agencies, and the property can’t be within 500 feet of a school. Also, only three on-site consumption licenses are allowed per individual investor.

More information on this license type should come in the future. For now, it seems likely that New York is waiting and watching Nevada to see how the consumption lounges work out before further defining the limits of the on-site consumption license. 

Roadblocks to Success in New York

If you’re looking to apply for a New York marijuana license, it’s important that you solidify your property as soon as possible. New York is going to be very competitive, and finding property that works with setback regulations and other real estate requirements is going to be challenging. 

Once New Jersey opens their application round, New York will feel the pressure to open up its licensing round soon after, so as not to fall behind and lose out on the market. That means the time to start preparing is now!

Make sure you work with a consultant who has a good understanding of application requirements so you have the best chance at success. Knowing what we do about New York marijuana licensing, the biggest mistake you can make right now is thinking you have time. 

Get in touch with us today to start your strategic planning for how to best enter the New York marijuana market.

The Next Five States to Turn Cannabis-Friendly With Recreational Cannabis Legalization

The Next Five States to Turn Cannabis-Friendly With Recreational Cannabis Legalization

States tend to take two steps forward and one step back to arrive at cannabis legislation that can win broad approval. However, lawmakers in Arizona, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont listened as voters have been voicing their increasing support for recreational marijuana legalization. As new states pave the road to recreational marijuana legalization, you need to be ready to put your pedal to the metal when the race to apply begins. We have some advice to help you start mapping out a route now to secure a license when the light turns green.

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New York Cannabis Licenses

new york cannabis licensing

New York Cannabis Licenses

Legal Cannabis Is On The Horizon in New York. Here’s What You Need To Know


New York was late to the game when it legalized medical marijuana in 2014, and they are now feeling the pressure as other states along the east coast have either already legalized recreational use, or are heavily considering it.

Prospects look positive as state officials seem to be reversing their positions from seeing cannabis as a gateway drug, to something that will generate revenue for the state and decrease costs in their criminal justice system.

As of right now, The Marihuana Regulation and Tax Act – New York Senate Bill S3040A – is sitting in the state legislature under financial review. Similarly, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was only until recently a staunch opponent of cannabis legislation, announced a study led by the New York Health Department to determine the reality of legalizing in the state.

Cleary, New York is outnumbered by many of its neighbors, including Canada, who already see the marijuana regulation as a net positive.

And, with a population that is tired of the illegality of cannabis and ready for a recreational model, it seems pretty clear that New Yorkers will soon be able to indulge in the fastest growing industry in the United States.

When New York legalizes recreational use, it will be huge opportunity for businesses to establish a foothold in the industry. There are steps you can take right now to be the most prepared for when the new law goes into affect.

Some of these next steps are to create a corporate structure, develop a business plan, and create an economic development plan, which includes working with local municipalities and determining the right location for your business.

The cannabis industry is complex, always evolving, and sometimes very difficult or time-consuming to navigate. At Higher Yields Consulting, we are experienced marijuana consultants providing innovative business solutions to meet all of your needs.

Whether you’re brand-new to the industry, or looking to expand, working with us will give you a competitive edge and maximize your success.

Contact us at Higher Yields Consulting to optimize your business for success. 

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Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting

Higher Yields Consulting is a Marijuana Consulting Group comprised of industry experts with decades of combined experience in the legal industry. Whether you are looking to get into the business or already have a license we can help your business succeed. Call (844) HI-YIELD to schedule a free initial consultation.

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