Despite Partial Legality, New York Remains on Forefront of Cannabis Movement 

New York votes to decriminalize marijuana and expunge the records of thousand of people convicted of low-level cannabis crimes.

By Melissa Hutsell

New York City is home to more than 8 million people. While one-in-38 Americans reside in the Big Apple, even more visit it. 

The cultural epicenter draws more than 65 million visitors each year, according to New Frontier Data, an industry analytics company. “The convergence of factors manifested in New York [makes it] one of the legal cannabis industry’s most influential markets, both domestically and internationally.” 

An Untapped Adult-Use Market

According to recent data released by the company, nearly 2 million New Yorkers use cannabis on a somewhat regular basis. 

Specifically, New Frontier found at least 1.6 million residents report consuming cannabis once per month, with 2.4 million New Yorkers using it at least once per year. 

While cannabis is only legal for medical uses in New York, the state is known for having some of the highest consumption rates in the world. 

In fact, a 2018 study from Israeli-founded tech company, Seedo, found New York City residents consume the most weed in the world. Karachi, Pakistan was second; New Delhi, India, third; and Los Angeles was fourth. 

The study compared prices and use of cannabis in 120 different cities around the globe. Not only did the Empire State prove to have the highest consumption rates of all the cities, but also, “the highest potential tax revenue [from] legalizing weed.”

Millions of Users = Billions in Sales

This year, New York Gov. Andre Cuomo announced plans to legalize adult-use cannabis. In his 2020 State of the State address, he noted the multi-billion dollar industry could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually.

If legalized, annual adult-use sales could surpass $2.4 billion by 2025, reports New Frontier. 

Data also provides insight into 18 other state markets with potential medical and adult-use cannabis measures on the 2020 ballot. Those include: Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and more. 

If all 19 markets legalize, 90% of the U.S. population would live in a legal state, adds New Frontier. These legal markets could generate nearly $42 billion in sales by 2025. 

These numbers prove Americans consume cannabis en masse. They also illustrate just how untapped these legal markets are—for consumers, and government. 


Emerald contributor since February 2016


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