As part of a well-telegraphed initiative, the governor's office hosted the listening sessions throughout September and October to gauge community appetite on the implementations of a regulated marijuana program in New York State. Cuomo's office said in August that community input would "assist the Regulated Marijuana Workgroup in drafting legislation for an adult-use marijuana program for the legislature to consider in the upcoming season."
Earlier this year, a multi-agency study commissioned by Governor Cuomo and led by the Department of Health concluded that "the positive effects of regulating an adult marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts."
"I have reviewed the multi-agency report commissioned last January and have discussed its findings with Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker," Cuomo said on Aug. 2. "The next steps must be taken thoughtfully and deliberately. As we work to implement the report's recommendations through legislation, we must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program, including its impact on public health, criminal justice and State revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it."
Shares of major Canadian cannabis producers that trade on U.S. exchanges closed mixed on Tuesday. Tilray and Cronos Group both fell, while Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis rose 6.9 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively. Some of the shares ticked higher after the NY Post reported the comments from Cuomo's office.
While cannabis in the U.S. remains federally illegal, the industry analysts believe the U.S. market for cannabis could be sizable, with the current illicit market valued at around $40 billion to $50 billion. According to the latest Gallup poll, 66 percent of survey respondents now support legalizing marijuana. That's a record high and was the third consecutive year that support for legalization has increased to record levels.