WRGB - When 2022 begins, the deadline will have passed for municipalities to decide if they want to opt-out of the state's retail cannabis sales and lounge consumption legislation, with the focus now on how the rollout of legalization will happen. In California, voters legalized weed five years ago. A cannabis activist from the Golden State says, at least so far it looks like New York has learned from some of the challenges his state has faced.
Steve DeAngelo is also a cannabis industry entrepreneur and investor. He says California didn't do a good job with legalization. One of the biggest problems that persists there is what DeAngelo calls the "legacy market," the people and organizations who were selling cannabis before legalization.
He says California didn't work to bring them into the new, legal market. One of the issues was a similar "opt in, opt out" plan for localities, just like what New York is doing. DeAngelo says that can create a "dual market” and create hiccups in areas that have opted out, but he's also hopeful, saying New York State seems more welcoming to those legacy operators: "In New York today, regulators are using language like 'welcoming the legacy operators into the legal market' and creating a legitimate role for them. So, it's a huge change, but it's also a big test. Nobody's ever really tried to legalize cannabis in this way before," said DeAngelo.
DeAngelo says the 18-month timeline New York State Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright has set to develop regulations on the legal weed market is reasonable, and that's probably how long it will take. Once regulations are set, businesses can apply for licenses.
As time ticks down to the opt-out deadline, there's some local updates. Glenville has decided to opt out. Saratoga Springs officials say their city and others who have opted in will now decide where the cannabis businesses can set up shop. Schenectady recently chose to opt back in, after originally choosing not to.
Original article can be found here: https://cbs6albany.com/amp/news/local/california-cannabis-activist-reacts-to-legalization-in-nys