Statewide panel looks equity in cannabis business

May 14, 2021

For years State Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes led the charge for marijuana legalization and on March 31st of this year the dream became a reality with the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act becoming law.


New York State Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (center)
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

But now Peoples-Stokes believes the real heavy lifting begins. From her work on the legislation she knows there are out-of-state eyes looking upon a burgeoning New York market for cannabis-related businesses. Peoples-Stokes said at this stage it’s all about getting New York residents, who are interested, started with their own businesses.

“If we don't do that, then the people who have already capitalized in the business no matter where they come from, will literally gobble up the entire industry. And so we have not really benefited New Yorkers we've benefited business and quite honestly I'm not adverse to business. I'm, you know, from a family of business people as well. But the point of the matter is we've got to have a New York focus first.”

A New York focus includes giving half of all cannabis licenses to social equity applicants. This would include minority and women business owners, veterans, farmers and people from communities negatively impacted by mass incarcerations due to the War on Drugs.