New York’s legal weed experiment is going about as poorly as possible.
Earlier this week, the state finally signed off on a handful of new dispensary licenses, a full two years after legalization.
Illegal pot shops, meanwhile, have gotten so common — and so attractive to criminals — that Gov. Hochul has asked Albany to approve five-figure fines and tough enforcement powers to help shut them down.
It remains to be seen whether any state can legalize marijuana without serious downsides.
But New York’s attempt has been particularly disastrous.
This is in large part because rather than prioritizing tax revenue or public health in the legalization process, Albany put progressive-tinged “social justice” strategies front and center in its policy design.
They admit as much.
Hochul has emphasized that New York State’s marijuana industry will benefit those who committed crimes under prohibition.
The state’s Office of Cannabis Management has said that “social and economic equity” is a “major focus” of legalization.
And the New York City Mayor’s Office promised to put equity “at the center” of the budding industry. You get the idea.