Lobby NY to use recreational marijuana tax as a remedy
The doors to the Upstate CBD in Glenville have been open for about a year. However, during this time, the stigma surrounding CBD changed dramatically, according to owner Donald Andrews.
“So when we first opened CBD was a huge gray area and then it got really mainstream,” Andrews said.
The store focuses on education and finding what is best for each customer. Renata Filiaci is the store’s holistic practitioner and says CBD can help people for a variety of reasons, from cancer to chronic pain and mental health issues.
What would you like to know
- Local business owners demand recreational marijuana tax to focus on social justice
- The model is already in use in neighboring states like Massachusetts
- State created Office of Cannabis Management to focus on framework, as NY continues to determine marijuana regulation
“We just like to give people all the knowledge and education, so that they feel better and when they come back it makes us feel good that they feel good,” Filiaci said.
Upstate CBD added the Union Street location after the success of its initial store on Saratoga Road. But as the business continues to grow, the industry continues to evolve and change as well, as recreational marijuana has been legalized in New York City.
“We’re not offering it now at the moment, but we would like to offer it in the future once we get the license and understand all of that,” Andrews said.
This might not happen for about a year as New York State continues to refine regulations and provisions.
“We could use the money we spend in our neighboring states here,” Filiaci said.
This is a primary goal for the state, as it created the Office of Cannabis Management. An investment in communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. Something Andrews says he would like to see.
“There were a lot of people whose livelihoods, whose lives, were ruined,” Andrews said. “As a black business owner in Schenectady, we see firsthand that a lot is happening on the streets, people get arrested, people are harassed for the smell of marijuana. It ruins a lot of things for a lot of people and a lot of people’s lives. “
Many of these people affected by the old marijuana laws come from communities of color. The ACLU says black men and women are three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana.
Other states are already making progress on reparations. One of those companies is Cookies, a nationwide marijuana retailer with a storefront in Worchester, Massachusetts. Crystal Millican, the company’s main retailer, says social justice is a priority for the company.
“We are talking about social equity, we are talking about workforce development. We are talking about advocacy and delisting and getting people out of jail who don’t belong there, ”she said.
Cookies says he seeks to break the mold of the industry, ensuring that those who have led the way are not left behind. She hopes New York lawmakers feel the same way.
“The individuals who brought us to this point, the cultivators, the breeders, the people who were selling weed on the streets, they cannot be left behind and we cannot forget them in this next and next phase. cannabis evaluation. We have to find ways to bring them into the fold and get them into leadership positions, ”says Millican.
While the state’s goal is for half of those licenses to go to equity applicants, Andrews says he hopes to see local companies, like Upstate CBD, reap the benefits as well.
“Keeping it here in our community would be great because that’s where all that money should stay, right here in our community. It’s what our communities need to grow, expand and move forward, ”said Andrews.
For more information on state law governing marijuana regulation and taxation, click here.