April 2024 Regional Cannabis News: Navigating Licensing, Taxes, and Legalization 

A grower holds a cannabis plant in their hands. This could be a home grower, like the advocates pushing for New Jersey legislators to allow home cultivation in the Garden State.

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Welcome to the April 2024 edition of our regional cannabis news update. In this month’s edition, we’re covering the latest updates shaping the northeast cannabis landscape, from New York’s progress in adult-use licensing to efforts in New Jersey to legalize home cultivation. Read on for more detail about what’s happening in the cannabis industry across the region.

New York State Cannabis Control Board approves 101 new adult-use licenses 

On April 12, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved 101 new adult-use licenses, bringing the total number of licenses granted in 2024 to 403. 

The breakdown of the 101 licenses approved includes the following types:

  • Adult-Use Cultivator License: 25
  • Adult-Use Distributor License: 11
  • Adult-Use Microbusiness License: 22
  • Adult-Use Processor License: 8
  • Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License: 25
  • Provisional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License: 10

“With the Cannabis Control Board’s issuance of 101 adult-use cannabis licenses, New York’s legal cannabis industry continues to make significant progress with over 400 licenses issued in 2024,” said Governor Hochul. “Strengthening New York’s equitable cannabis industry and ensuring the hard-working small business owners operating in the legal market have the licenses to open are the best ways to protect the integrity of sales in New York.”

The CCB also passed a resolution empowering the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to issue provisional adult-use licenses to streamline the licensing process and promote industry growth. This update will allow provisional licenses to be awarded outside regularly scheduled board meetings. 

New Jersey lawmakers and activists push for home grow legalization 

New Jersey cannabis advocates and lawmakers are applying pressure to legalize home-grown cultivation of cannabis as neighboring states continue to move forward with similar measures. 

Currently, only individuals holding cultivator licenses are permitted to grow cannabis under state law. Individuals, including medical cannabis patients, cannot grow their own plants for personal use in New Jersey. Growing your own cannabis remains a third-degree felony. By contrast, in New York, patients and their caregivers are allowed to grow a limited amount of plants.

Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D) has been a prominent figure in expressing reservations about a home-grow program, citing concerns that it could hinder the growth of the legal cannabis industry and inadvertently bolster the underground market. 

Critics, however, including Chris Goldstein from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), argue that such hesitancy is misplaced. This highlights the frustration among small business owners, consumers, and patients. Goldstein and other advocates have taken to protesting in front of the New Jersey State House in Trenton to challenge the state and Scutari’s stance. 

“The small business owners I talk to, the consumers, the patients, they say he’s off base,” said Goldstein. “And again, the delay has been really terrible for New Jersey.”

Study finds cannabis could bring $41 million in tax revenue to Pennsylvania in its first year

A study conducted by Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) found the state could eventually generate $271 million in annual tax revenue through legalization of cannabis as proposed by Gov. Josh Shapiro. The estimate takes into account a 20% excise tax on wholesale cannabis alongside revenue from state sales tax. In the inaugural year of legalization, Pennsylvania could expect to see approximately $41 million in tax revenue, the report reads.

The IFO analysis highlights the fact that neighboring states have already enacted legalization measures, potentially limiting Pennsylvania’s revenue as customers seek products across state lines. 

“Currently, all border states except West Virginia have legalized and imposed tax on adult recreational use cannabis. These taxes were enacted recently in Ohio (2023), Maryland (2023), New York (2021), and New Jersey (2020),” reads the report. “Because nearly all border states already tax recreational cannabis, the estimate is not increased for cross border sales that may have occurred in other states that were first to tax recreational marijuana in a region.”

Still, the report suggests that legalization could be a boon for Pennsylvania’s public coffers, adding momentum to the growing cannabis legalization movement in the state’s capital.

Forge cannabis connections at CWCBExpo 

For those seeking to stay informed, network with industry leaders, and continue exploring the latest innovations, there’s no better place than CWCBExpo. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, a budding startup, or simply curious about the industry, we offer a platform to connect, learn, and grow. Register for CWCBExpo today to dive deeper into the world of cannabis and shape the future in the Northeast and beyond. 

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