When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill in late March to legalize recreational marijuana in New York state, many in the cannabis and real estate industries thought dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges might save New York City retail. But the reality will be much more complicated.
New York’s adult-use marijuana program will be one of the most progressive in the United States — if it is implemented as it now stands — according to cannabis industry observers. The legislation, known as the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, requires that the state award 50 percent of its cannabis business licenses to “social and economic equity applicants,” which include minority- and women-owned businesses and veterans, as well as people who come from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by police enforcement of drug laws. The law allows for dispensaries, on-site consumption lounges and delivery services, as well as cultivation of marijuana.
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