New York Pulls the Trigger for Recreational Adult Use Cannabis
New York is now the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill earlier today permitting anyone over the age of 21 years old to possess up to three ounces of cannabis as well as expunging the records of those previously convicted of possession.
With Democrats controlling both chambers, the Marijuana Taxation and Regulation Act, passed by a margin of 43 to 20 in the Senate and 100 to 49 in the Assembly. This law is effective for immediate legalization for possessing and personal growth of marijuana up to three ounces, or 24 ounces of concentrated cannabis like oils, as well as removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances. In addition, expungement or resentencing for anyone previously convicted of possessing the amount of marijuana under the legal three-ounce limit. Furthermore, a police officer cannot use the smell of burning weed as justification to search a vehicle, but they can still use the odor as a reason to suspect a driver is intoxicated.
New Yorkers are can legally smoke marijuana in public wherever smoking tobacco is permitted. Smoking is still not permitted in public parks, beaches, boardwalks, schools, workplaces, cars, and in public where you can still receive a summons. And there are many stipulations the state is working out, as they anticipate cannabis sales will begin a year from now, and cannabis business licenses will need to be issued along with new statutes.
Specifically, dispensaries and onsite consumption sales will not begin until April 2022 at the earliest, so there is no legal way sell marijuana to those who want to consume it. In time large scale dispensaries will open, as well as outdoor consumption areas, to Amsterdam-style corner cafes. And soon New Yorkers will legally be able to get cannabis delivered to their homes as well as cultivate up to six plants for personal use.
Early estimations find the marijuana market to generate $350 million in annual tax revenues per year in the state, with 40% dedicated to a social equity fund, 40% for schools and 20% toward education and drug treatment, and up to 60,000 new jobs in the industry.
The longtime war on drugs has scourged minority communities with disproportionate numbers of cannabis arrests, this new legislature is targeted to reinvest back to the minority communities which have suffered and taking it one step further to allow those who have been involved in the illicit market to participate in the new legal market.
This legislation can easily bring in billions of dollars in annual sales and is a win for cannabis enthusiasts, as well as medical users, as flower will be more affordable and they can receive up to a 60-day supply, as opposed to the current 30 days. In the past only patients suffering from specific diseases, including AIDS, epilepsy and cancer, were able to have marijuana prescribed to them, practitioners will now have the discretion to recommend medical marijuana for any condition.
Did 3/31 Just Become The New 4/20 in NY?
This news is as big as New York and expected to guide the framework for many states to follow with similar legislation.
Foreseeable issues that may soon be anticipated: Marijuana breathalyzer devices to enforce drugged driving laws to possible rules for prohibiting specific sales like cannabis edibles that mimic candy.
Happy 3/31, New York!