Decriminalization

New York’s Marijuana Legalization Process Continues to Unfold

New York’s Marijuana Legalization Process Continues to Unfold

Cannabis legalization in New York is moving to new stages after experiencing a few delays along the bumpy road. According to MSN, political infighting brought on by “crippling” staff delays finally came to an end when newly minted Cannabis Control Board members began interpreting and shaping the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the state’s marijuana law approved by then-governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s lawmakers last spring. The vision of what the redefined medical marijuana program and implementation of the potentially lucrative legal market will look like in the Big Apple is in the hands of the five-person panel, which met for the first official time last week. The board must do that work and, in addition, emphasize social equity and repair the harms done during the substance’s prohibition and over-criminalization.

Language in the law already says possession of three ounces of marijuana for people 21 and over is allowed. However, a few of the regulations and the licensing processing and social equity provisions have yet to come to fruition. Kristin Jordan of Park Jordan, a mercantile real estate brokerage and marijuana industry advisory firm, said the marijuana regulators don’t have a truly successful model in differing states to legalize while accentuating social equity. Jordan was quoted in lohud saying, “So, I think more than anything, we’ve got a roadmap of what didn’t work.” The firm’s founder and CEO continued, “And from that, they’ll be able to glean, hopefully, a pathway towards a[n] equitable program.”

The state’s marijuana law outlines multiple license types, ranging from ones for recreational cultivators to ones for delivery programs. Varying types include microbusiness licenses allowing for the limited cultivation and dispensing of cannabis and a nursery license that would allow the sale of certain agricultural products relating to marijuana. The board is tasked with bestowing 50% of the licenses to social equity applicants such as minority and women-owned businesses, distressed cultivators, and service-disabled veterans.

Again according to MSN, it’s up to the marijuana board to execute the regulations that control the licensing process. The panel must also make recommendations regarding the approval of price controls set by the Office of Cannabis Management’s executive director, Christopher Alexander. However, the legislation offers some guidance for licensing the substance and other measures to prevent vertical integration. For example, the adult-use retail dispensary license will allow the sale of marijuana from a store to consumers. However, the establishment cannot be within 500 feet of a school or 200 feet of a house of worship. Some licenses have provisions limiting the number and the variety of permits an applicant may obtain, as well.

This spring’s passage of the new law broadened expungement and gave the court up to two years to do the work needed to get NY’s program up and running. Meanwhile, all eligible convictions are being expunged, meaning that these convictions are no longer showing up in criminal background check searches. That being said, those convictions will still show up in some instances, such as when a person applies to law enforcement or tries to apply for a gun permit. Looking at the progress New York is making in numerous realms of reform is great for the cannabis community and for residents of the Empire state.

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New York Bill Filed To Include Transgender & Non-Binary People For Cannabis Equity Benefits

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