ALBANY, New York, Feb. 17, 2020 – PRESS RELEASE – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 30-day amendments to the Governor’s proposal to establish a comprehensive adult-use cannabis program in New York. Specifically, these amendments will detail how the $100 Million in social equity funding will be allocated, enable the use of delivery services, and refine which criminal charges will be enforced as it relates to the improper sale of cannabis to further reduce the impact on communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.
"As we work to reimagine, rebuild and reopen New York, we’re taking every opportunity to address and correct decades of institutional wrongs to build back better than ever before," Cuomo said. "We know that you cannot overcome a problem without first admitting there is one. Our comprehensive approach to legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also enables us to directly support the communities most impacted by the war on drugs by creating equity and jobs at every level, in every community in our great state."
Allocation of $100 Million Cannabis Social Equity Fund
Social and economic equity are the bedrock of Cuomo’s proposal to legalize cannabis for adult-use and as part of that, his proposal includes a $100 million dollar fund to help revitalize communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs.
Through this fund, qualified community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments would apply for funding to support a number of different community revitalization efforts, including, but not limited to:
Job placement and skills services,Adult education,Mental health treatment,Substance use disorder treatment,Housing,Financial literacy,Community banking,Nutrition services,Services to address adverse childhood experiences,Afterschool and child care services, system navigation services,Legal services to address barriers to reentry, andLinkages to medical care, women’s health services and other community-based supportive services
The grants from this program may also be used to further support the social and economic equity program.
Under the amended proposal, the Department of State would allocate the funding, through grants administered by Empire State Development Corporation, in collaboration with the departments of Labor and Health, as well as with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and the offices of Addiction Services and Supports and Children and Family Services. Final allocations and administration of funding would also be contingent upon approval from the Division of the Budget.
Enabling the Use of Delivery Services
The legalization of cannabis is expected to play an important role in helping rebuild New York’s economy following the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, legalization is projected to create more than 60,000 new jobs and spur $3.5 billion in economic activity while generating an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully implemented.
Cannabis legalization also has the potential to have a significant economic benefit on distressed areas in New York, providing employment opportunities for all levels of the workforce. As social and economic equity are the bedrock of Cuomo’s proposal, delivery services offer a low-cost entry point into the industry, particularly in communities that have been especially impacted by