New York Medical Cannabis Funds Collect Dust For 8 Years

New York Medical Cannabis Funds Collect Dust For 8 Years
Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[Medical cannabis tax money that’s supposed to help support New Yorkers in need of addiction and criminal justice services has done nothing but gather dust since 2014. New York’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports has accumulated roughly $1.6 million, while the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services has accrued roughly $1.4 million in medical cannabis tax funds, as of Feb. 28, according to New York Cannabis Insider. While the state mandated a portion of medical cannabis revenue be allocated to those two agencies eight years ago, neither has touched the funds since, NYCI reported. “Why aren’t they drawing down this money, and why is it sitting there?” state Sen. Diane Savino questioned when contacted by the news outlet. Savino, who announced last month she intend to retired after 18 years as a state senator, tackled legalization as the lead sponsor for New York’s medical cannabis legislation in 2014. “It’s not like there isn’t a need [for the funds],” she said. “Just spend it—allocate it and send it out the door.”  Under the legislation, which former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law in September 2014, a medical cannabis trust fund, which draws from a 7% cannabis excise tax, was established in the joint custody of the state comptroller and the commissioner of taxation and finance. According to the bill’s text, 5% of the money was to be allocated to alcoholism and substance abuse services, “which shall use that revenue for additional drug prevention, counseling and treatment services.” (The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse was later renamed the Office of Addiction Services and Supports.) And 5% of the money in the trust fund was to be transferred to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, “which shall use that revenue for a program of discretionary grants to state and local law…

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