The Recreational Marijuana Movement Has Hit New York

It only seems logical that a major economic center like New York would be curious about recreational marijuana legalization. States like Colorado are pulling in an average of more than a $100,000 in cannabis sales revenue, which is hard for anyone to ignore. If New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, follows through and legalizes recreational marijuana in the Garden State, New York is really going to struggle watching its regulars traveling just a little south to spend their money. The first waves of the recreational marijuana movement occurred at the Brooklyn Law School a little over a week ago.

Brooklyn Law School last week was the epicenter of a growing movement to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in New York.

The school’s Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship (CUBE) on November 6 hosted Cannabis Law: From Criminalization to Opportunity, billed by organizers as the largest cannabis policy reform event ever held in New York.

As the seven-member panel of legislators, lawyers, entrepreneurs and advocates weaved through the myriad topics facing the nascent industry, the conversation zeroed in on the socially responsible business practices that could be established within the confines of full legalization and regulation.

“Was there ever an industry better situated to be a for-profit/social impact dual function?” asked CUBE CEO John Rudikoff in his opening remarks.

The political winds blowing around marijuana have shifted and New York should be the next state to legalize marijuana, State Senator Liz Krueger said. Federal prohibition prevents the state and private entrepreneurs from capitalizing on the full economic potential of cannabis, she said.

“We see our neighboring states legalize, we see the economics escaping us,” said Krueger, whose district 28 stretches along Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “You just see other states going down this road, and the world didn’t end out in Colorado.”

Even as New York’s medical marijuana program inches forward, Krueger has proposed legalizing marijuana statewide.

In June, Krueger re-introduced New York State Senate Bill S3040A, dubbed the “Marihuana Regulation and Taxation ACT” (MRTA). It’s currently idling in committee where the two previous iterations of the bill died, she said.

New York is one of 29 states which have legalized medical marijuana. Approved by state legislators and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014, New York’s program launched in January 2016 as one of the more conservative programs in the country.


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