- Decriminalization does nothing for legal cannabis industry in that state
- It does nothing to put tax dollars into state coffers
- Opposition to legalization is derived from anti-cannabis propaganda, not facts/science
This should have been the week that the U.S.’s fourth most populous state – New York – passed a cannabis legalization bill. If approved, it would have added another 20 million Americans as (potential) consumers of legalized pot.
It didn’t happen.
Cannabis investors looking for a villain here may want to finger the NY Times. Earlier this week, the Times posted a piece of irresponsible anti-cannabis propaganda that insinuated that (somehow) legalizing cannabis is worsening the Opioid Crisis.
The Seed Investor has previously explained that this is impossible.
Cannabis is a completely safe substitute for opiates. It can only help to alleviate this Crisis.
The pseudo-science published by the NY Times (and elsewhere in the mainstream media) contains no real evidence, only a flimsy correlation that is backed by nothing.
The Times published this anti-cannabis propaganda at the worst possible time: as the vote to legalize cannabis in New York literally hung in the balance.
Cannabis investors will never know if this bill would have passed without the negative slant attached to cannabis usage by the NY Times. What we can see is that such propaganda has emboldened ignorant anti-cannabis zealots within the state government.
Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island), however, said that while unequal enforcement is wrong and he doesn’t want to see anyone arrested for smoking marijuana, no one is talking about the health and public safety concerns of legalizing marijuana.
“Right now, the state is saying, ‘It’s OK to do it,’” Lanza said. “This is going to hurt people.”
As TSI noted earlier today, there is no substance at all to such anti-cannabis biases.
“No one is talking” about supposed “health and public safety concerns” regarding cannabis because there aren’t any.
Yes, NY State was trying to say “it’s OK to do it” – because it is. If consumers switch from the consumption of dangerous tobacco/alcohol products in favor of cannabis, this will save lives.
No, legalizing cannabis in NY state would not have hurt anyone, except New York’s cannabis black market.
It is in this context that we can view the State’s “Plan B”: voting to decriminalize cannabis usage within New York state. On a positive note, that bill also includes a provision to expunge criminal records for simple cannabis possession.
For cannabis companies and cannabis investors, however, this is a hollow victory. This won’t add a penny of revenues to the coffers of legal cannabis companies in New York. It won’t boost any share prices for the benefit of investors.
The State is also a big loser here.
Colorado has now reaped more than $1 billion in taxes/fees from the legalized cannabis industry in that state. There isn’t a state government within the U.S. that can afford to turn its back upon a revenue stream of that magnitude.
While decriminalization removes the criminal penalties associated with cannabis usage, it does nothing to eliminate the stigma of using cannabis – in the minds of a large minority in the U.S. that still regards cannabis with blind prejudice.
Americans want legal cannabis (by a large majority). Consumers want legal cannabis as a safe option to the increasing dangers of alcohol consumption.
New York will vote to fully legalize cannabis usage. It’s just not going to happen this year.