The state of New York is hammering out the details of the law which will legalize recreational cannabis in the jurisdiction. One of the issues that has come up for consideration is how that cannabis will be distributed and sold once legalization takes place.
Liquor stores have come together and proposed that they should be allowed to sell recreational marijuana throughout the state. This group advances several arguments in support of their proposal.
First, they say that liquor stores exist throughout the state. Consequently, fewer resources will be wasted in setting up a new distribution and retail network for recreational cannabis. The public can therefore access the product sooner after legalization.
Secondly, liquor stores are heavily regulated by the state. The regulatory and enforcement arms of the state government will therefore not be stretched once recreational cannabis is added to the products that can be sold in liquor stores.
Thirdly, the group argues that letting liquor stores sell marijuana would help to protect the jobs and revenues accruing from the sale of alcohol. Other states where recreational marijuana is legal have registered a drop in alcohol sales. Consequently, some employees have been let go and a number of liquor stores have also closed.
Allowing the liquor stores to sell recreational cannabis would therefore protect the existing jobs in this sector of the state economy while also bringing in the expected taxes and other revenues from the cannabis industry.
The group of liquor store operators has set up a website to gather support for their suggestion. The public is being urged to access pre-written letters which can be sent to the different legislators who will make the final decision about how recreational marijuana will be sourced, distributed, and sold to the public.
The letters show that the plan by the liquor stores provides a win-win scenario for all concerned. The public benefits by having easy access to facilities that have been in existence in their neighborhoods. Law enforcement wins by simply expanding their effort instead of overseeing an entirely new bureaucracy. The state further benefits by saving the tax dollars which would have gone to setting up and overseeing a new network of cannabis retailers.
Governor Cuomo started the ball rolling on recreational cannabis legalization when he asked the Department of Health to analyze whether or not legalization should be done. The resultant report showed that the drawbacks of legalizing recreational cannabis were fewer than the benefits which the state would register.
The law being drafted also seeks to compel public health insurance plans to cover medical cannabis so that people don’t have to pay out of pocket for such needed treatments. Such progressive policies are exactly what companies like Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA) and Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) would like to see throughout the country.
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