New York Takes Major Step To Start Legal Sales of Marijuana
New York State lawmakers appear to be getting very close to allowing the sale of legal weed across New York.
It's been over a year since weed was legalized in the Empire State. However, legal sales of marijuana have yet to start in New York.
“I could press the green button right now and have 40 dispensaries online,” Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Executive Director Chris Alexander told the New York Times.
In 2021, then Gov. Andrew Cuomo legalized recreational marijuana. Under legislation passed in New York communities in New York State had until Dec. 31, 2021, to opt-out of legal sales of marijuana. Communities that did not make a decision automatically opt-in. You can see the lists before of towns that opted in or out below.
In September 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she hoped to fast-track legal weed sales in New York State.
It's now March so you can say fast-tracking legal sales hasn't happened. But this week, state officials did announce who they want to be allowed to legally sell weed first.
Gov. Hochul is expected to announce on Thursday the New York State Cannabis Control Board will allow people with marijuana convictions or someone whose family member dealt with a marijuana conviction will get the first shot at legally selling weed in New York.
The proposal states:
If the applicant is an individual, or an entity with one or more individuals, at least one individual must: (i) be justice-involved, which means an individual that:
(a) was convicted of a marihuana-related offense in New York State prior to the thirty-first of March two thousand twenty-one; or (b) had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent who was convicted of a marihuana-related offense in New York State prior to March 31, 2021.
New York lawmakers believe this will help many Empire State residents who were impacted by marijuana convictions.
"We’ve decided that the folks who have been most impacted actually have the space and the real runway to participate in a meaningful way," Alexander adds.
This means people with marijuana convictions can legally sell marijuana before big businesses will be allowed to enter the market.
“What New York is doing is actually giving people with criminal justice histories first-mover advantage,” Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Kassandra Frederique told NY1. “The people that have fought for this change have been the people in New York that have been criminalized by the law, who have had their communities surveilled and punished."
A start date for the legal sale of weed still hasn't been announced.
Over 100 towns in the Hudson Valley won's allow dispensaries to open. However, nearly 100 local areas will allow the sale of legal weed.
Below are towns on the list that will allow marijuana dispensers and the ones that won't, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.