States on the East Coast are now pushing for adult-use legalization across the board in 2020. With the first quarter of the year coming to a close, we’re finally starting to see results from three East Coast states.
New York’s Governor Cuomo is busy preparing for adult-use legalization in New York State. In fact, the governor has been making trips to legal states like California and Colorado, learning all he can about how to implement adult-use cannabis without the growing pains.
Cuomo has an ambitious plan to pass adult-use legislation in New York by April 1, 2020. That means March 2020 will be a very busy month for New York legislators. State officials still have to determine how to best use cannabis tax revenue and how they will implement social equity improvements with that revenue.
While legislators are gearing up for action in New York, Vermont’s lawmakers green-lighted an adult-use cannabis bill on Wednesday, February 26. After hours of debate, the Vermont House passed the bill with a 90-54 vote.
In its current state, the bill includes provisions such as:
A 20% tax rate, with funding included for after-school and summer learning programs.
2022 as the start date for sales.
No flavored cannabis vapes will be allowed.
Banning any THC potency over 30%.
Although the House passed this bill, the Senate is challenging certain portions of it, including protections for minors and cannabis advertising restrictions. Even if the bill makes it through the Senate, Governor Scott must sign it into law. He’s adamant about allowing saliva tests for impaired drivers before adult-use cannabis becomes law, so conflict is likely between the governor and legislators.
Rhode Island’s lawmakers are also facing off on adult-use cannabis. The state has proposed an entirely different model that would have serious repercussions on cannabis investments in Rhode Island.
Namely, the state wants to own and run all dispensaries in Rhode Island. It would hire private contractors to run the stores on the state’s behalf. The state would keep 61% of revenue, contractors would receive 29%, and municipalities would get the remaining 10%.
Rhode Island’s government-run program is a departure from the other privatized models on the East Coast. But after losing out on adult-use taxes to neighboring Massachusetts, the state is desperate to push through adult-use. As the bill stands today, it’s unlikely to pass because of its government-run model, but time will tell.
Although legalization comes with a host of growing pains, a domino effect on the East Coast would tremendously increase the value of the cannabis industry.
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