Cannabis in New York City is now legal. New York State legalized cannabis this past week, but the city that never sleeps has people excited.
Some estimate the NYC cannabis industry is worth $4.2 billion, making it one of the largest cannabis markets in the world.
Details of NYC Legalization
New Yorkers can now possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes. They can also possess up to 24 grams of cannabis oil. But that’s out in public.
At home, New Yorkers have the option to store up to five pounds provided they take “reasonable steps” to ensure its safe storage.
You’ll have to be over 21 to consume cannabis and need a license to sell it. However, you’ll be able to smoke in public wherever smoking tobacco is permitted.
Local municipalities, like New York City, can create additional rules to regulate smoking in public.
According to the new state cannabis agency, police cannot use smell as a justification to check if a person is following the cannabis rules.
So far, people can smoke in their homes provided they own them, or the landlord is okay with it. New Yorkers can also consume in hotels and motels that permit it.
Lawmakers say regulations regarding consumption sites like lounges and coffee shops are in the works. Municipalities will be able to opt-out of consumption sites if they so choose.
Buying and Selling Cannabis in New York
Like other legal regimes, New Yorkers will have brick-and-mortar shops where they can buy. Like with consumption sites, municipalities have the option to opt-out.
Retail stores can double as consumption sites, provided they have the proper licensing.
There will also be licenses for cannabis delivery. Something municipalities won’t be able to opt out of.
Municipalities cannot ban home cultivation. Residents of New York State will be able to cultivate a maximum of six indoor and six outdoor plants, for a total of 12 plants per household.
However, growing cannabis in New York remains prohibited currently. The state cannabis agency says people will be able to grow 18 months after the first retail shop opens.
So far, the first store isn’t expected to open until later this year.
Cannabis Expungement in New York
According to the New York Times, cannabis-related charges are five times higher for hispanics than for white people. For black people in Manhattan, it is 15 times the rate.
Because of this, New York lawmakers are reserving cannabis business licences for minorities, the disabled, and other categories they consider marginalized.
Proponents say New York’s “equitable” cannabis legalization will undo the damage of systemic racism. But, in reality, categorizing licence applicants based on skin colour and ethnicity is systemic racism.
Suppose New York police are racist toward blacks and hispanics. In that case, it’s a problem of government bureaucracy not serving the community’s interests.
If New Yorkers embraced a free market in policing, then the citizens of Manhattan would have a physical contract with their security services.
A contract would give them greater control over enforcement. And the option to patronize competing agencies if it turns out the company serving Manhattan consists of racists.
Regardless, lawmakers are no longer criminalizing certain cannabis-related activities. Those with convictions on their record will see them automatically expunged.
This isn’t the first time, either. In 2019, more than 150,000 residents had their cannabis convictions removed from their records.
Cannabis in New York
Legal cannabis in New York will certainly bring life back to the city after the government’s COVID policies nearly destroyed it.
Will New York City return to its former glory as a financial and cultural powerhouse? It remains to be seen.
But having legal cannabis is better than not having it. Especially with neighbouring states like New Jersey legalizing.