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New York Advocates say legalizing marijuana will help high unemployment rate

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

The Westleaf X WRGB

Some economists say more than 50,000 jobs could be created in the state over the next few years if the marijuana market is legalized.

For every $1 billion in marijuana retail sales, nearly 20,000 jobs are projected to be supported.

That’s according to a recent economic and revenue impact report by economists James Parrott and Michele Mattingly.

They say the bulk of jobs would be in retail, followed by cultivation.

“We’re optimistic and looking forward to that new sector,” said Tony Gaddy, president and CEO of the Upstate New York Black Chamber of Commerce.

He says legalizing adult use marijuana is a chance to develop new workforce opportunities, especially in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

“This issue has been more adversely impacting communities of color and I think it’s an opportunity for us to create new business owners, entrepreneurs, and workforce,” Gaddy said.

But Assemblyman Robert Smullen says the marijuana legislation isn’t a pot of gold for New Yorkers, and will allow the black market to bloom.

“No matter what anybody says it isn’t going to lead to tens of thousands of jobs,” Smillen said.

He adds, “in fact, people themselves are going to exercise their liberty when it’s no longer illegal to buy and to sell and they’re going to do what they’ve been doing for many years which is to cultivate it themselves.”

Smullen says he supports medical marijuana, but will vote no on the adult use marijuana legalization bill.


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