As New York moves steadily closer to a fully rolled out adult-use cannabis industry, two New York state legislators recently proposed legislation that would significantly simplify the tax structure for adult-use cannabis. Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), New York would have charged a potency THC tax on all adult-use cannabis, plus an excise tax of 9%. The proposed legislation would change the tax structure to a flat 16% excise tax, with no potency tax.
The proposed legislation was announced by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and state Senator Jeremy Cooney. As a reminder, Assembly Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes was one of the sponsors and chief proponents of the MRTA and Senator Cooney has been integrally involved in legislating cannabis since the passage of the MRTA.
As part of announcing the proposed legislation, Assembly Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes stated:
“After careful consideration, it became clear that we need to simplify the tax structure of adult-use cannabis. As the state continues to build out licensed cannabis operations, a simpler tax structure will be better for businesses and consumers. It is imperative to establish the licensed cannabis marketplace as the best option for consumers and stamp out the illicit cannabis operations popping up all over the state. This new tax approach will ultimately lead to thriving cannabis businesses at all levels of the supply chain. We will see higher tax revenues, which will result in more funds being reinvested in communities and invested in education and other important programs.”
The bill’s justification similarly emphasizes that a flat tax “will better shift the costs away from businesses and consumers while facilitating a cannabis market in New York State that is flourishing and will provide real economic benefits for all.”
It is noteworthy that the justification also references the legislators’ review of “a large amount of data now available from other cannabis-legal states,” which highlights New York’s data-driven approach to forming the adult-use cannabis market. We’ll keep our eyes out for information on the proposed legislation as it moves towards passage. Stay tuned!