Right now, New York’s legislature is working to legalize cannabis for adults. Revenues in the first year alone are estimated in the billions.
The pending legislation provides that in exchange for these billions, large cannabusinesses will pay a few hundred million in taxes, provide some jobs, and take most of those billions out as profits. Instead of looking only at the limited tax pie, NY should think bigger. If done right, cannabis legalization can be a huge boon: revitalizing communities throughout the state, helping our neighbors set up small businesses, prioritizing women and people of color, starting with our farmers.
The proposed law ignores New York’s small farmers, craft producers and cooperatives, missing the chance to create tens of thousands of good local jobs for regular New Yorkers. The craft farm cannabis industry could follow the successful craft brewery industry, only bigger and more valuable. As farmers, we know how to grow crops outdoors, employing regenerative practices to responsibly produce pesticide-free crops which are healthier for humans and respect the planet.
Regenerative agriculture, if practiced broadly, can literally stop climate change by capturing greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and sequestering them in the soil. Contrast that with industrial indoor cannabis cultivation which relies on synthetic chemicals and is one of the worst carbon polluting industries in the US.
Done right, we can use cannabis to change our corporate and agri-cultures, shifting the paradigm towards practices that regenerate life on earth.
Attorney, Farmer and Co-founder of NYSmallFarmA