ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN)–With the budget deadline looming, members of the Cannabis Association of New York are making a final push to have their priorities added in the state budget.
At the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, advocates were calling on the legislature to repeal the THC potency tax, something Senator Jeremy Cooney supports.
“Now, under the current law in New York State, a product that has a higher potency or a higher percentage of THC— could be an edible, could be a smokable product, that would actually be charged at a higher dollar amount than other types of products. What we are trying to do is recognize that we don’t tax based on the type of product it is,” explained Cooney.
Advocates say the repeal would make the adult-use market more competitive.
“If we don’t pass this tax reform now, it will probably be too late because it could wait for years potentially and by that point, the prices will be so high that people will continue shopping at the illegal stores and bypassing the legal market,” said Allan Gandelman, President of Cannabis Association of New York.
Right now, there are only five legal cannabis dispensaries open in the state.
“So all of the shops that are out there claiming they are legal, they are not,” explained Gandelman. “I would really want people to do their due diligence and making sure they are shopping at a legal store where the products are tested and there is some tax revenue going back to the communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs.”
The Governor proposed legislation that could lead to fines of $200,000 for illicit cannabis plants or products and for businesses, a fine of $10,000 per day for selling cannabis without a license.
“The governor has put forth an enforcement bill,” said Cooney. “We agree with parts of it, we are going to negotiate that over the next few weeks of what that enforcement action will be, but there is consensus that we need to do something. So we will definitely see something out of this budget on enforcement.”
The final state budget is due on Saturday.