May 2023 Regional Cannabis News: Progress in PA, Slow but Steady Growth in NY 

A depiction of the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg, PA. A blue sky with white clouds is behind the building.

Each month, Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) offers a convenient roundup of the biggest cannabis news stories and hemp headlines emerging across the nation. Get these updates in your inbox by subscribing to our email newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to get the most recent edition when it’s published.

Welcome to CWCBExpo’s monthly regional cannabis news update, bringing you the latest developments in cannabis legalization, sales, trends, and more in the Northeast. This update highlights significant strides made in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York in May 2023, reflecting on the evolving landscape of cannabis acceptance and legalization in the region. From bipartisan initiatives in PA to the slow but steady growth of the adult-use market in New York, we delve into the latest updates shaping the future of cannabis on the East Coast. 

Bipartisan Pennsylvania senators team up on legalization bill

In a significant move toward cannabis reform, bipartisan Pennsylvania senators have joined forces to introduce a new bill aimed at legalizing adult-use cannabis in the state. Spearheaded by Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D), the legislation seeks to regulate and tax adult-use cannabis, allowing adults aged 21+ to purchase and possess limited amounts for personal use. 

In the co-sponsorship memo, the senators emphasized that polling efforts have shown adult-use legalization to be supported by “two-thirds of Pennsylvanians and has majority support in rural, suburban, and urban legislative districts.”

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians, and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity,” Laughlin said in a press release. While the bill has not been officially filed yet, the senators are keen to address the concerns raised during the previous legislative session and have expressed their intent to improve upon their proposal from the last session. 

In addition to legalizing adult use of cannabis, the bill contains social equity provisions facilitating expungements for prior cannabis convictions and prioritizing licensing for people most affected by the War on Drugs.

Majority of New Jerseyans support dispensaries

According to a recent poll conducted by Stockton University, about one-third of New Jersey adults have tried cannabis or cannabis products since adult use dispensaries opened in April 2022. As more and more towns across the state decide whether to allow dispensaries, Stockton’s poll is an indication that New Jerseyans overall remain supportive of legal weed. The survey revealed that 53% of respondents support having dispensaries in their own town, demonstrating a majority endorsement of local access to cannabis products. 

The poll also provided some demographic characteristics of the state’s cannabis consumers, including:

  • Men were more likely than women to have consumed cannabis, by 37% to 28%
  • People under 50 were more likely to have consumed cannabis in the past year, including 43% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 41% in the 30-49 age bracket
  • There were no differences in consumption between different regions of the state and those with or without a college degree
  • Democrats (38%) were more likely to consume cannabis than Republicans (24%) or independents (32%)

Additionally, results showed that a slim majority of respondents were in favor (49%-45%) of allowing lounges in their towns. The poll found a similar split (48%-45%) regarding lounges and cannabis-themed attractions being allowed in tourist towns. With a notable portion of the population having already engaged in New Jersey’s legal cannabis industry, the findings suggest a growing acceptance and normalization of cannabis in the state. 

Adult use sales in New York surpass $16.5 million 

Since the opening of the first dispensary in December, the regulated adult-use cannabis market in New York State has experienced steady growth, surpassing $16.5 million, according to data from state regulators shared during a May 11th Cannabis Control Board Meeting. 

While the figures are encouraging, some stakeholders have raised concerns about the slow start. As of May 2023, only 13 adult-use cannabis retail stores have opened statewide, with four located in Manhattan. A total of 215 conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses have been issued to date. 

Although state regulations expect revenue to grow steadily in 2023, the limited number of dispensaries raises concerns about equitable access to cannabis products for consumers and the potential for a fully developed and inclusive market. It remains crucial for regulatory and industry participants to address these concerns and encourage the establishment of more outlets to ensure widespread access and promote the growth of a robust and diverse cannabis industry throughout New York State.

Stay informed with CWCBExpo

It’s evident that the Northeast is in the midst of great progress. As we eagerly anticipate further updates and developments, it’s crucial to stay informed. Stay tuned to CWCBExpo for the latest updates and news, as well as our upcoming B2B trade show in New York City. The in-person expo is just around the corner, offering a unique opportunity to connect with industry professionals, explore innovative products and services, and stay at the forefront of the rapidly evolving cannabis landscape. Join us at CWCBExpo to engage, learn, and contribute to the dynamic cannabis community.

Scroll to Top