The proposed $175 billion state spending plan includes a sweeping re-organization of the state’s marijuana bureaucracy, consolidating regulation and oversight of the marijuana growing and retail industry under a new state offfice.
The budget would create an Office of Cannabis Management, overseeing commercial adult-use marijuana as well as medical marijuana and hemp.
Medical marijuana is currently overseen by the state Department of Health; Agriculture and Markets regulates hemp production in New York.
The new office would be under the umbrella of the State Liquor Authority and overseen by an executive director.
The office would be led by an executive director with wide authority over new regulations for the potential commercial retail industry for marijuana, including the number of licenses issued and oversight of pricing, including ceilings on retail markup.
At the same time, the budget includes provisions meant to spur minority, women-owned businesses and those in community impacted by drug laws in order to promote diversity in licensing.
That includes those from a “community group that has been disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition” as well as someone who was convicted of a marijuana-related offense in the past.
In his budget address on Tuesday, Cuomo said the program would “create an industry that empowers the poor communities that pay the price and not the rich corporations who come in to make a profit.”
And the new agency would be tasked with how marijuana at the retail level is marketed, including restrictions on advertisements similar to alcohol sales. Marijuana ads would not be allowed on TV, radio or digital programming that has an audience predominantly under the wage of 21.
The state projects the retail marijuana industry will result in $300 million in revenue from a three-tiered tax structure.