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New York's Recreational Marijuana Legalization: What Investors Need to Know

By Eric Volkman - Updated Jun 23, 2021 at 8:23AM

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Some elements of the new law came into force instantly; others, not so much.

A massive U.S. marijuana domino fell in late March when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed recreational marijuana legalization into law in his state. Investors in Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF 1.97%)Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF 1.00%), and Columbia Care (CCHWF -1.14%) -- each of which already has a coveted license to operate medical dispensaries in the state -- rejoiced.

That leads to the million-dollar question: When can cannabis stock investors expect businesses to start making money from the legalization of recreational pot? Longtime Fool contributor Eric Volkman counsels patience in a talk with healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina in this segment from Motley Fool Live. This clip was recorded on May 21.

Corinne Cardina: Let's jump into some legalization news and we can start with the Empire State.

It's been a while since we've talked about pot stocks on Fool Live. This happened at the end of March. New York legalized recreational Cannabis. It already had a legal medical Cannabis market. A little bit of context here, its neighbor, New Jersey is opening up a recreational market after voters in November green-lit that move, but that is taking some time to set up.

Let's talk about the latest with New York's plan. Is adult-use weed legal right away, or is this a longer-term rollout?

Eric Volkman: Well, technically it's legal right away. You can go and smoke in New York to your heart's content if you're not a medical marijuana patient.

The catch is that the actual recreational market is going to take a while longer to establish. New York has established a commission, basically, marijuana commission, to set the rules and to establish the parameters of the market. That's what's going to take some time.

Don't forget, New York is a huge, very populous state with a lot of diversity in it's cities and its regions, so it's going to take some time. There's no firm date, there is no deadline for when this should happen. Analysts are estimating anywhere from one to two years. I'm a native New Yorker, I can tell you that a lot of things involving the bureaucracy or state government or state agencies take longer than expected. That [time frame] might be optimistic.

But then again, New York is desperate, especially after coming out of the pandemic, they're very hungry for tax revenue. Their budget -- never in the best of shape -- is particularly looking bad this year. They're probably going to want to hurry it up. Whether they can or they can't, I don't know. But like I say, people are estimating a year or two, and that at the moment sounds realistic.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Green Thumb Industries. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
Curaleaf Holdings, Inc.
$5.69 (1.97%) $0.11
Green Thumb Industries Stock Quote
Green Thumb Industries
$10.10 (1.00%) $0.10
Columbia Care Inc. Stock Quote
Columbia Care Inc.
$1.74 (-1.14%) $0.02

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