A state of New York notice posted at a business announces the seizure of “illicit cannabis” at the business as authorities crack down on unlicensed smoke shops on Jun. 16, 2023. Getty Images/ Spencer Platt

New York’s billion-dollar promise on legal weed has gone up in smoke.

The Empire State is set to make as much money from its first year of legal weed as did Montana — a state with one-twentieth the population.

That is: New York’s losing millions in taxes thanks to the painfully slow rollout of legal-sale licenses, while also fueling the plague of illegal shops.

And while the take is likely to grow as Albany belatedly gets it less-wrong, the estimated tax take has dropped from then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s late-2018 guess of $1.3 billion a year to now-Gov. Kathy Hochul’s projection of just $1.25 billion over the next six years.

The Legislature wrote insanely complex rules for who should be first in line for a legal-sale license, while also insisting on a Rube Goldberg scheme for helping the underprivileged qualify.

And Hochul’s Office of Cannabis Management has been accused of snubbing disabled military vets as well as women and minority-owned businesses and distressed farmers by prioritizing convicted drug felons for licenses.

Meanwhile, New York cannabis farmers are sitting on 300,000 lbs. of weed; many fear bankruptcy.

new york marijuana stores
New York State regulators have raided seven unlicensed Manhattan smoke shops for illegally selling flowered marijuana and other weed products.
Helayne Seidman
A vendor sells various marijuana products
New York is facing a major disappointment in marijuana sales this year.

Albany pols couldn’t make money selling umbrellas in a downpour.

Of course, New York politicians aren’t known for their understanding of how the private sector works, or even of how government can operate efficiently: If the subject’s not pay-to-play bribery, most are clueless.

Apparently, they still figured they understood the pot business. (Hmm . . . )

Yet, even by Albany standards, they produced bad policy, executed terribly.

And who knows what damage they’ve wrought on the mental health of the population by legalizing ever-stronger mind-bending drugs.

We’re not so naive as to look for any apologies for this mess. Sadly, it’s too much to even expect them to learn a single lesson from a disaster of their own making.