Marijuana legalization: ‘New York is one of the bigger movers,’ Bruce Linton explains – Yahoo Finance
The weed market opening up in New York will be a massive catalyst for the cannabis industry, according to an industry veteran.
“I think New York as a market, [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer as a representative of New York, is going to be a very, very live topic through September,” Bruce Linton, chairman of Gage Cannabis and former CEO of Canopy Growth (CGC), told Yahoo Finance (video above). “And to me, that is one of the bigger movers. You say to anybody else on the planet, tell me the name of a city in the U.S., and New York is probably No. 1 90% of the time.”
New York legalized recreational cannabis in March, enabling New Yorkers to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and expunging certain marijuana offenses from criminal records. The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association estimates that the cannabis market in the state is $4.6 billion and would grow to $5.8 billion by 2027 if current trends hold.
The actual cannabis industry and regulation structure in the state largely still has to be built: Key seats in the Office of Cannabis Management and on the Cannabis Control Board remain unfilled after former Governor Cuomo reached an impasse with State Senate leaders over the appointments. Without the regulatory body in place, the sale of marijuana is still prohibited.
Linton said that he expects more regulatory movement now that Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.
“I believe, and I think a lot of people believe, he was the source of blockade,” Linton said, adding that “there’s going to be a much more thoughtful process to putting together the governance panel and getting going.”
In August, Kathy Hochul stepped into the New York governorship in a leadership change that could alter the stalled momentum of the marijuana program.
“I’m pretty upbeat about what’s happening with the new governor coming in,” Linton said. “When New York and the state actually become No. 1 in terms of being open and well-governed, doing the right things around cannabis, it’s going to put a ton of reality into the global situation and the U.S. situation.”
Marijuana legalization gaining steam nationally
Linton also commented on the outlook for legalization on the federal front, especially with the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act unveiled by Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D- N.J.) in July.
“I think they’ve now at least staked a claim,” Linton said. “They can say we have put forward the first bill. When the election occurs, if nothing’s happened, they’ll be able to rely on this as a point for the election.”
Linton added the legislation is “good politics. People have to get off the couch for the next election and this could be a reason.” Support for marijuana legalization among Americans rose to 68% as of late 2020, according to Gallup polling.
In the meantime, Linton noted, the delay in marijuana legalization has put a damper on cannabis stocks like Canopy Growth and Gage Growth (GAEGF). That is why the cannabis trade, he said, is “quiet” right now.
“People will pay attention,” Linton said. “And I think all it’s going to take is one notable event. New York moved quicker and it’s more lively. Or this federal thing’s dropping some of the funny tax stuff for the inclusion of the FDA, and people are getting excited about the trade.”
Grace is an assistant editor for Yahoo Finance and a UX writer for Yahoo products.
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