Notable & Quotable: New York City’s Marijuana Stores

March 11, 2022 6:14 PM ET

Governor Kathy Hochul delivers a speech in New York on March 9.


Bianca Otero/Zuma Press

Charles Fain Lehman writes for City Journal, March 11:

Who Should Run New York’s Legal Marijuana Stores? Former pushers, according to Governor Kathy Hochul, who announced Thursday that those with a marijuana arrest record will be first in line for retail licenses.

Proponents of the plan consider it both fair and good for business. Those most affected by the “War on Drugs” should be the first to benefit from legal marijuana, they say. And those who have already sold weed would only be transplanting their skills into a now legal market. . . . This will come at the expense of other “equity” seekers – minority groups favored by half of the legal pot licenses under New York law – who do not share this history of breaking the law.

Why would the skills involved in the illegal sale of drugs apply to the legal market? The latter involves tax compliance, legal administration, and navigating a highly regulated and controlled industry. The former, on the other hand, selects individuals capable of evading the law and extracting profits through coercion, not through trade.

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Appeared in the March 12, 2022 print edition as “Notable & Quotable: Pot”.


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