September 24, 2021

“This is a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry — and New York is at the centre of it,” says Leafly CEO

3min read

Ahead of Business of Cannabis: New York, leading cannabis industry experts and speakers share their thoughts on the future of cannabis in New York.

Lorna Gaskin, Prohibition Partners
24 September 2021


Ahead of delivering the keynote speech at Business of Cannabis: New York next week (September 29), Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita has emphatically endorsed the legalisation of cannabis in New York as being a ‘pivotal moment’ for the North American cannabis industry.

Legalisation in New York, Miyashita says, could have profound, positive economic implications, whilst also providing a blueprint for a socially-equitable, socially-just and diverse cannabis industry. Importantly, the Leafly CEO believes legalisation in New York will also push federal legalisation forward.

Speaking to Business of Cannabis and Prohibition Partners, Yoko said: “This is a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry—and New York is at the center of it. Legalisation in New York will set the tone for East Coast markets, push forward the fight for federal legalisation, and define new and essential on-ramps to economic opportunity for those unfairly targeted by the War on Drugs. Leafly is excited to partner with the Business of Cannabis and Prohibition Partners to celebrate those who will define the future for one of the fastest growing industries in New York and our country: cannabis.”

Since 31 March 2021, adult-use cannabis has been legal in New York. However, whilst the possession and use of cannabis became legal immediately, the industry has been waiting for officials to put policy and regulations in place, with legal sales set to begin sometime next year. Now, with members of the Cannabis Control Board recently appointed by new Governor Kathy Hochul, things are set to start moving forward.

State Senator Liz Krueger, who was the lead sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) and will also speak at next week’s Business of Cannabis: New York summit, said: “New York is poised to implement a nation-leading model for what marijuana legalisation can look like by legalising adult-use cannabis in a way that foregrounds racial justice, while balancing safety with economic growth, encouraging new small businesses, and significantly diminishing the illegal market.”

Prohibition Partners estimates that total sales of medical and adult-use cannabis in New York will reach USD$2.6 billion in 2022, rising to USD$3.9 billion by 2025. New York’s legal cannabis market has huge potential – a sentiment also shared by a slew of other Business of Cannabis: New York speakers.

Carlyn S. Buckler, Associate Professor of Practice in the Horticulture Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell University, highlights how New York already has the financial and business infrastructure in place to get ahead of the rest of the US Market. Buckler said: “The plant science research, production/processing initiatives, and especially entrepreneurship in New York state is second to none. New York state certainly has the potential to be the leader in the cannabis industry in the U.S.”

Debra Borchardt, CEO and Editor in Chief of The Green Market Report, also notes how New York can use its already established industries to position itself at the top of the US cannabis market, saying: “Legal cannabis in New York will set the tone for all cannabis in the country. From banking to marketing, New York will quickly become a testing ground for brands.”

And whilst New York’s financial and entrepreneurial background will be invaluable to its emerging legal cannabis industry, a big focus for most of our speakers is centred around social equity and social justice: to develop a truly diverse and socially-focused industry that looks after the people most affected by decades of cannabis prohibition.

“New York has the opportunity to build an authentic and impactful program that facilitates the entry and support of true social equity owners and operators while taking affirmative steps to help repair communities impacted by the war on drugs,” said Marc Ross, Head of Impact & ESG for Vicente Sederberg.

Tahir Johnson, Director of Social Equity and Inclusion for US Cannabis Council, said: “I’m excited about NY’s potential to change the face of the cannabis industry, as well as the opportunity for entrepreneurs to transition from the legacy market to legal businesses.”

Gary Santo, CEO of Conor Green, reiterated the importance of including everyone in this new policy, especially Indigenous Nations: “New York is one of the most highly anticipated legal cannabis markets on the horizon. Through our partnership with the Shinnecock Indian Nation, we look forward to not only participating in the New York market, but helping to rewrite the status of cannabis social equity to purposefully include Indigenous nations.”

Business of Cannabis and Prohibition Partners are incredibly proud to be bringing these speakers together on September 29 at the Rainbow Room, Rockefeller Center, for Business of Cannabis: New York.

There are only 20 tickets remaining for the exclusive event in New York next week. You can purchase tickets via the event website or directly via Eventbrite.

“This is a pivotal moment for the cannabis industry — and New York is at the centre of it,” says Leafly CEO

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