As New York’s regulatory wheels start turning ahead of the expected 2023 launch of the state’s legal cannabis industry, multistate cannabis operators and companies with deep interests in real estate are registering to lobby on cannabis.
Details of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget plan released on Tuesday show that the state estimates cannabis tax revenue will total about $1.25 billion over the next six years, reaching just over $360 million in cannabis tax revenue by fiscal year 2028. The budget also allocates $46 million to the Office of Cannabis Management, which will oversee the industry’s launch.
TerrAscend, which has vertically integrated businesses in California, Pennsylvania, and just across the river in New Jersey, has registered to lobby on cannabis in New York, as did Kiva Brands, a major edibles company that got its start in California. Gotham Green Partners, which includes MedMen, iAnthus, Flow Kana, and 4Front in its portfolio, registered to lobby on “cannabis regulatory issues in NYS.” iAnthus minority shareholders (and Charles DeStefano as a minority shareholder) also registered to lobby.
Real estate has already become an active conversation, especially considering New York’s law allows for onsite consumption spaces. Localities had until December 31 to opt in or out of consumption spaces, and 862 of 1,521 opted out, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Marijuana Opt Out Tracker.
New City Ventures, which focuses on maker spaces, accelerators, incubators, and co-working spaces, registered to lobby on cannabis, as did Laborers Way, a California company that is involved in the development of a so-called“cannabis campus” in Buffalo, New York.
In early January, coinciding with her State of the State address, Hochul provided a glimpse into her far-reaching budget plan, which included a $200 million public-private equity fund to “promote equity and economic justice in New York’s cannabis industry.”
The seed money will come from licensing fees and tax revenue, according to the State of the State book, and the fund will also “leverage significant private investment.”
New York’s cannabis industry has already undergone some other regulatory changes in recent months. At the December meeting of the Cannabis Control Board, board member Jen Metzger laid out the “Cannabinoid Hemp Farm Processors” license, which would “make it easier for licensed hemp farmers in New York state to manufacture and sell their own flower products to retailers or sell this product themselves if they have a retail license.”
“It is a pared down version of the other processor license types, with lower application and license fees. It’s also our hope that this license will reduce barriers and make it more affordable for New York State hemp growers to undertake value-added activities and make their own products,” Metzger said.
Another shift Metzger talked about was the addition of the definition of “craft,” nodding to the robust craft beer industry that boomed throughout New York State in recent years.