‘Let’s become millionaires,’ New York cannabis entrepreneurs welcome legalization

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Reuters When New York legalized recreational marijuana for adult use on March 31, local cannabis entrepreneurs, Fetti, and his older brother, Solo, were ready to take their brands, “HellaPuff” and “PowerPuff,” out to the world.

“I’m excited about it,” said Fetti, who declined to give his real name. “I think it’s going to open up opportunities for a lot of young entrepreneurs.”

Just like the brothers, many of them came from the streets, Fetti said, and making weed legal was a chance for them to better themselves by building legitimate businesses.

“Put your talents to work,” Fetti said. “Let me see you get busy. Let’s become millionaires. Yeah, that’s what I wanna do.”

New York’s legalization of recreational marijuana could generate $5 billion in sales for the first year, according to Green Thumb Industries Inc, the second-largest U.S. pot producer by market value.

People from lower-income areas should be the first to take a slice of that pie, said Solo, who also declined to give his real name.

“They’re the ones who paid the highest price when it was illegal,” he said. “So, it’s only right, you know, to make it fair to give the low-income, or what we call ‘the hood,’ the first opportunity to open and establish and create our own.”

And if they don’t have the money, give them the right to team up with someone who has the money, Solo added.

Based on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s forecast of $350 million in cannabis tax revenue, the state’s sales should be $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion in the first year, according to analysts from Global X Research.

“The positive part is, we won’t be going to jail for something that’s natural, that God created for us, you know?” Solo added. “And the negative part is, yeah, you still go to jail if you don’t pay the taxes on it, because now they want to eat.”

Now that it’s legal, the brothers expect the business to ‘explode,’ and they welcome competition from other brands.

“Branding is where it’s at,” Fetti said. “In New York City, you gonna see a lot of different brands. Everybody is going to come out with a brand in New York City now, just like in L.A.”

For the brothers, the legalization is also a relief on a personal level.

They come from Jamaica, where marijuana is part of the culture, commonly used in things like teas and ointments.

“It’s not taboo, like they made it over here to be,” said Fetti.

It’s also part of the hip hop scene, and Fetti, with his FettiWave Music Group, is planning a release of his first album under the nickname JFK Fetti in the next two weeks.

“It being legalized, you know, it just makes us feel more at ease, and we are able to, you know, feel comfortable expressing ourselves, you know, feel comfortable doing business with each other, you know, because now we don’t have to worry about law, you know?” said Fetti.

Aleksandra Michalska – Reuters