Why County Governments Raising Concerns With Marijuana Deal

Once approved and in place, New York’s legal cannabis product is expected to generate $350 million in revenue and eventually grow to a multi-billion dollar industry.

But not everyone is pleased with how the revenue will be divided up in New York.

Local government officials like Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro worry they are not getting enough revenue that would be used to respond to the potential side effects of marijuana legalization, including public health issues that might arise.

“The bulk of the potential new social cost that the Legislature is concerned about really falls outside of New York City on the county governments,” Molinaro said on Thursday in an interview. “And we’re concerned that added responsibility isn’t being recognized with a fair share of the revenue.”

The agreed-on marijuana program would allow New Yorkers age 21 and older to purchase cannabis products and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their home. The program is also expected to lead to the creation of a new industry of retail cannabis stores and lounge-style businesses.

The measure provides more sales tax revenue to towns hosting cannabis businesses than county governments would be able to capture.

Molinaro pointed to the variety of services county public health departments provide that could arise as the program comes on line.

“We’re the ones who provide support for families who are dealing with addiction; we’re the ones who provide the mental health support and the substance abuse programs,” Molinaro said.

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