New York is one of the many U.S. states that have legalized weed this year. Although they had legalized the medical use of cannabis for years, they legalized recreational marijuana in early 2021. This was a big event for those who consume cannabis in the state, and especially those who wish to do it legally. With cannabis becoming more of a normalized topic, organizations relating to weed have emerged. For example, the Cannabis Control Board in New York is a state organization dedicated to establishing a regulatory structure regarding all aspects of cannabis. In fact, they met for the first time a few weeks ago. NY’s Cannabis Control Board meets for change regarding the way cannabis is allowed in the aspects of people’s lives.
The Cannabis Control Board in New York falls under the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). This office is in charge of regulating and controlling “the cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, transportation, and sale of cannabis in New York State.”
NY’s Cannabis Control Board Meets For Change
The Cannabis Control Board met for the first time publicly a few weeks ago. As previously mentioned, this board composed of 5 members, is responsible for establishing the structure for New York’s cannabis industry.
In their first meeting, members decided to focus on what regulations and changes can help communities of color. Specifically, those who have been harmed by cannabis criminalization.
During this meeting, they have decided to implement changes to the state’s medical-marijuana program. They believed that expanding medical marijuana access to patients was a top priority over recreational use. Tremaine Wright, the newest chair of the board, declared that medical patients:
- No longer have a $50 fee to earn a medical card
- Can obtain a 60-day supply of marijuana instead of the previous 30-day
- Can buy a whole flower cannabis
Since the launch of the medical marijuana program in New York in 2014, dispensaries were only allowed to provide edibles and extracts. Jen Mezger, another board member, explains how this will be a great opportunity for cannabis farmers. This includes farmers who are young, historically underrepresented and those who’ve been struggling economically. Similarly, this will help boost employment and strengthen New York’s agricultural sector.
Moreover, they also expanded the list of who can prescribe marijuana. Wright explains that “any practitioner who has a license to prescribe a controlled substance” can prescribe marijuana to a patient. This includes podiatrists, dentists, and midwives.
Additionally, they will be issuing regulations and policies for the state’s new recreational marijuana program.
New York Cannabis Legalization
New York has legalized the legal use of recreational marijuana. Once the proper regulations are put in place, consumers will be able to legally purchase weed as well. As usual, adults 21 and older are allowed to use, smoke, or ingest cannabis products.
Individuals are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis. For example, oils or extracts from the cannabis plant.
Although recreational marijuana is legalized in New York, there are still penalties for those who break the law. These range from a violation to a felony, depending on the crime. Crimes include possessing more weed than permitted or selling without a license.
According to expert predictions, the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York is expected to generate $350 million in annual tax revenue. Additionally, it’s set to create 60,000 jobs. Tax Revenue from marijuana taxation can be very beneficial to the state and city.
In fact, in California, a lot of the tax money goes to child care, police and fire departments, and wildland restoration. Moreover, it’s also used for other social programs as well as cannabis regulation and research.
Other Issues NY’s Cannabis Control Board Will Address
The New York Cannabis Control Board has many more difficult issues to tackle aside from the medical marijuana program. Although this was just they’re first meeting, they have a long list of matters to address when it comes to marijuana.
First, a top issue many are concerned about is how the board plans to curb driving under the influence. Although the effects of smoking or consuming marijuana are different from drinking alcohol, it’s still considered driving under the influence, thus illegal. Unfortunately, there’s no reliable test to indicate someone’s sobriety on weed, which makes regulating this difficult. The board has still not discussed how they will tackle this issue.
Second, NY’s Cannabis Control Board also plans to launch a public education program. The details surrounding the public education program are still unknown. This may be the next matter the board addresses.