New York Legalizes Marijuana As Part of a Deal
The state of New York has legalized marijuana, paving the way for the recreational and medical cannabis industry. The law creates the Office of Cannabis Management, which will oversee the entire industry, including marijuana production, sales, and distribution. The office will be composed of a five-member board, three appointed by the governor and one from each legislative house. The board would regulate the distribution of cannabis, licensing of dispensaries and retail marijuana businesses, and allocation of retail licenses. New taxes would be added, and regulations of wholesalers, dispensaries, and cannabis products must be implemented and enforced. A five-member control board would also be created. medical marijuana card fee erie county ny
The New York marijuana bill includes sweeping changes for underrepresented groups. For example, it will require that 50% of marijuana licenses go to individuals with business experience and who are also members of the community. Additionally, it will protect people from discrimination based on marijuana use in schools, workplaces, and public housing. The state’s marijuana board has also approved licensing of New York farmers to supply marijuana to new outlets. The state’s policy is subject to a public comment period, and it is unclear when the first licenses will be issued.
As part of the deal, the state must invest 40% of the tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales toward helping communities that were devastated by the “War on Drugs” era. The funds are administered by a 13-member Cannabis Advisory Board that must include a number of people with drug convictions and formerly incarcerated individuals. Once the industry is fully established, the fund will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state.
The bill eliminates the penalties for possession of less than three ounces of marijuana. It also reduces penalties for small amounts of cannabis, and it encourages minority groups, small farmers, women, and veterans to participate in the industry. Despite all the changes, however, it is unlikely that the first sales will start for at least a year. This will allow time for the state to implement rules for the industry, including a new cannabis board.
The proposed legislation also includes automatic expungement of criminal convictions. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use will make New York the third state to legalize the drug, following South Dakota and New Jersey. The law states that employers cannot discriminate against marijuana users because they are white, black, or Latino. The new law is similar to that of its neighboring state, New Jersey. So, it will be interesting to see how the new law will turn out.
Under the new law, marijuana will be taxed based on the THC content, which will be 0.5 cents for flower and 0.8 cents for concentrated cannabis. The legislation includes an equity program and allows home-grow of up to three mature plants. It ends the penalties for possessing less than three ounces of marijuana. Further, the legislation sets new criminal penalties for illegal possession. And, it incorporates impairment by cannabis into the definition of a crime called driving while impaired.