4 Reasons New York is the New Cannabis Consumption Mecca
Photo of Joy Washington, Owner of CannaVibezzLLC, in NYC, by Vee
When New Yorkers do something, we do it right. And with cannabis legalization in the state of New York, it’s time to prepare for a shift in the cannabis industry.
California has been the uncontested mecca for cannabis lovers for decades. And I’m not here to discredit their ideal growing conditions or the sacrifice of the Emerald triangle farmers (Vee reminds us all of the time that California was and still may be- the main provider of cannabis in America for decades). But I am here as a lifelong New Yorker, to tell you we don’t do anything half-assed.Cannabis times, they are a-changing, and New York seems to be at the forefront.
Before you tell me I don’t know my joints from my blunts, here are 4 reasons why New York is set to sweep the cannabis scene.
- The MRTA was the most progressive legalization bill to date
Cannabis legalization in New York was passed under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, or the MRTA. This incredibly progressive bill was hard-won, thanks to the efforts of two incredible senators, Crystal People-Stokes and Liz Krueger. People-Stokes and Krueger refused to compromise on some of the bill’s most important components, like the right to home grow, cannabis delivery, and record expungement, and that makes a big difference for NY consumers.
For comparison, Washington’s original cannabis legalization bill included the right to home grow, but the clause was removed before the bill passed in 2012. Washington state residents still do not have the right to grow their own weed, nearly 10 years later!
The bill also included a specific license type for consumption lounges, public places where consumers can go to buy and consume weed. Cannabis consumption lounges are rare in the US. Just this year Neveda passed a law allowing consumption lounges to open, and they’ve had legal weed since 2017!
- It’s New York City baby!
Nothing compares to the concrete jungle. New York is the financial capital of the world, and in a class all its own on the East Coast. And you can bet New Yorkers are bringing their signature grit and attitude to the cannabis industry.
Photo of Joy Washington, owner of CannaVibezzLLC, in NYC, by Vee
New York is known for having experiences you can’t get anywhere else, which is why the city welcomed nearly 66.6 million visitors in 2019 (almost 16 million more than LA.) Why would the cannabis industry be an exception to that? Between cannabis delivery, consumption lounges and world-class dispensaries, there are countless cannabis experiences waiting to unfold. Think catered cannabis shopping trips, delivery valet services, and luxury 5-course cannabis meals catered by a private chef. Interested yet?
- The Infrastructure of Upstate
Yes, I’m a New Yorker, and I know damn well no city will ever match the energy of NYC- but I’m also an Upstater and the first person to remind you that there’s more to New York than the city.
Upstate New York has a lot to offer the cannabis industry, starting with existing manufacturing sites. Upstate towns relied heavily on manufacturing jobs, which have been in decline for decades. But there’s a chance to turn that around with cannabis. Legalization is set to create more than 20,000 jobs in the next few years, and a good portion of these will be allocated to the processing and packaging of the plant. The state has dozens of empty manufacturing sites; large industrial buildings already equipped with utilities, just waiting for a switch to be flipped.
Some of these sites have already been claimed by industrious New Yorkers, just waiting for the application process to open. But many are still waiting for someone with the right creative spark to come along and breathe new life into it.
And of course, we can’t forget the growing side of things. New York may not have the year-round year-round warm weather of SoCal, but we still have a growing season that gets the job done. Many farmers are exploring environmentally sustainable growing options that take advantage of our natural growing season while using science and greenhouses to cultivate the strongest genetics.
- A Culture of Small Businesses
Another special thing about the MRTA was the focus on small businesses. The MRTA specifies that 50% of licenses must be awarded to social equity applications, roughly defined as women and minority-owned businesses, communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, veterans, and distressed farmers. Many of these licenses will go to small business owners.
Strong small businesses are the backbone of strong communities. A vibrant cannabis culture of small businesses and rivalized manufacturing will do great things for New Yorkers. And there is an existing model to follow in the craft beverage industry. Recent changes in home brewing laws have caused an explosion of craft beverage businesses across the state, from wine and beer to cider and spirits. Cannabis will be managed under the NY Liquor Authority and is set to follow the same path.
What do you think? Can anyone unseat California’s stronghold on the cannabis industry, and what are you most excited about when it comes to cannabis legalization in New York?
Written by: Jessica Riley
Edited by: Veronica Castillo
Korasana (with partner Zero Point Extractions)
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