21 Aug

Could Bill de Blasio Help the Cannabis Industry?

WRITTEN BY Rajiv Nanjapla

In May, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Previously, he’s served as a New York City councilor and campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

Bill de Blasio’s stance on cannabis legalization

Initially, de Blasio was against legalizing cannabis. The New York Times reported that in April 2018, he stated, “I think what would happen in a legalization dynamic is it would become another corporate reality.” He also indicated that his family’s experiences with addiction were behind his stance. However, as New York’s mayor, he has tried to reduce cannabis-related arrests and racial disparities in cannabis-related charges. He also supported New York council’s initiatives to ban pre-employment drug testing for specific jobs.

The December 2018 New York Times report added that days after New York governor Andrew Cuomo advocated legalizing adult-use cannabis in New York, de Blasio supported recreational marijuana’s legalization in New York. In a statement to The New York Times, he said, “I have been convinced that we can establish a regulatory framework that keeps our streets safe, rights the wrongs of the past, and gives economic opportunity to communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.”

If New York legalizes recreational cannabis, it would become the 12th state to do so. In its report, The New York Times stated that sales of cannabis products in New York could exceed $1.7 billion per year. Revenue from tax collection could fund government programs. Furthermore, de Blasio has proposed improving New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority with the tax collected from cannabis sales.

Research on cannabis

Currently, 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana, and 33 states have legalized its usage for medical purposes. However, cannabis has a long way ahead before being legalized at the federal level. Therefore, companies are focusing their research on building a case for its legalization.

In April, Tilray (TLRY) announced two new clinical studies at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia and McGill University Health Centre in Canada. Last August, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) teamed up with McGill to study CBD’s (cannabidiol) impact on human health. CBD is used to treat chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. In October 2018, Cronos Group (CRON) partnered with Israel’s Technion Research and Development Foundation to explore CBD’s usage in regulating skin health.

This year, regulatory scandals have marred the cannabis sector. CannTrust (CTST), which had Health Canada compliance issues, has seen its stock fall by over 60% year-to-date. Also, Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF) has received an FDA warning for promoting unapproved CBD products.

Not the only support for cannabis legalization

Bill de Blasio isn’t alone in voicing his support for legalizing cannabis. Democratic nominees Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Andrew Yang all support its legalization. To learn about Donald Trump’s views, read President Trump: Is Marijuana Legalization a Key Weapon?

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