State lawmakers are nearing an agreement on a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana in New York, and a final bill could be voted on as early as next week.
If approved, New York would be the latest state to allow for the commercial sale of cannabis products, opening up a large market to the rapidly expanding industry.
"It’s close, just a few details," Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told reporters on Monday. "It’s not major sticking points."
But there are some specifics that still needed to be worked out as of Monday afternoon, including how many plants can be grown in a private home and how to determine impaired driving for someone who has used marijuana.
Still, an agreement on a final measure appears closer than ever in the bill's history. Proposals for marijuana legalization in recent years have stalled in the state Legislature over key disagreements surrounding revenue derived from marijuana sales, as well as traffic safety.
Procedurally, lawmakers would also be happy to pass the measure outside of the state budget due at the month — giving them more leverage in how the legalization program would be shaped.
Meanwhile, the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association over the weekend released a report highlighting economic arguments for the existing medical marijuana industry to be aid in the acceleration of the adult-use program.
“The data outlined in these reports demonstrates once and for all the benefit of relying on the medical cannabis industry to create a safe, well-regulated, and equitable adult-use program,” said NYMCIA President Ngiste Abebe, vice president of public policy for Columbia Care. “By utilizing the knowledge and infrastructure of the existing providers, New York can bring much-needed economic growth to the state at a critical time in its recovery while also cementing its reputation as a progressive leader.”