Live from New York, weed is now legal! But before you start smoking that celebratory joint out on the open sidewalk, here’s a rundown of what’s in the new cannabis laws, what they mean, and what you can expect for policy changes in the coming months.
New York Cannabis Legalization
The piece of the New York cannabis legislation that takes effect immediately says that individuals who are 21 and over can now possess up to three ounces of weed for recreational use, or 24 grams of concentrates like oils. You’ll be able to smoke weed as freely as you would a cigarette, though with the same stipulations like no smoking around schools, and with additional restrictions like no smoking at the workplace or in your car. For those who like to grow their own weed, the new laws allow for individuals to grow three mature and three immature plants at a time for personal use. With spring already upon us, what better time than now to become your very own CannaBotanist!
In the coming months, lawmakers will be working to create a system of cannabis regulation that currently does not exist. While it remains to be seen what this will look like and how it will be implemented, it’s safe to assume that New York legislators will likely look at other states who have embraced cannabis legalization and adopt some of their systems and methodologies. The structural components of this regulation will be especially important to understand for cannabis businesses and how it will impact them.
Effects On Businesses
In addition to now being able to legally smoke and enjoy marijuana on an individual basis in the state of New York, the sale of weed has also been legalized. Weed can now be sold legally in New York state with a 13% sales tax, which is expected to help generate upwards of $350 million in annual tax revenue. It’s also been estimated that the new cannabis legalization will help generate around 60,000 new jobs for New Yorkers, which will be great for the state economy on a multitude of levels. And while these are all great advancements for the business side of cannabis, the law also makes amazing strides within the criminal justice system in how it addresses previous marijuana-related crimes.
Criminal Justice Reform
A major component of the New York cannabis legalization is the expungement of criminal records for people who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses. Minorities comprise the demographic predominantly – and unfairly – affected by the old and outdated Rockefeller Drug Laws, and the new cannabis legalization does it’s best to reverse decades of pain, unfair treatment and mistreatment of minorities in the legal system for cannabis-related offenses.
It’s a new day in New York state, and if legalization can happen there, it can happen anywhere. Hopefully the state can be an example of change for other major markets across the country who are attempting to enter the cannabis legalization realm.