New York is the 17th state to legalize marijuana: weed is legal in NY as of today


Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, signed a law this morning making cannabis legal for all adults.

The ownership aspects of the law take effect immediately. It is now legal – yes, today – for adults 21 and older to have up to three ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrates.

Retail cannabis stores are expected to open during 2022. They are licensed by a new government agency, the Office of Cannabis Management.

After three long years of negotiation and struggle, lawmakers voted in an evening event on Tuesday evening to pass the law on legalization. Governor Cuomo signed the law at an unusual rate, making it official at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

The immediacy of the law’s effect is unusual. Most laws passed by a state legislature take effect at the beginning of the following year or the beginning of the next fiscal year. New York’s “effective now” clause came about because of the state’s dire record of arrest and punishment related to cannabis. Despite the fact that marijuana was “decriminalized” long ago, more than 100,000 New York State residents were arrested each year.

Across the state, black residents were 4.5 times more likely to be arrested than their white neighbors, despite the same consumption rates.

The law’s immediate impact was also brought about through the work of lawmakers like Congregation Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) and Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) calling for strong equity measures – and not just a business premiere measure up.

What does the new law say?

The new provisions of the law include:

It is now legal for adults (21+) to have up to three ounces of cannabis flower and 24 grams of concentrates. Adults can keep up to 5 ounces of flowers at home. A new agency, the Office of Cannabis Management, will license and regulate the industry. The first operational cannabis retail stores are expected to open in 2022. The new law stipulates that 50% of cannabis licenses go to applicants. Retail cannabis is taxed at 13% plus normal state and local sales taxes. Home-grown cannabis will eventually be allowed. Adults can grow up to 6 plants each with a maximum of 12 plants in the household. Note: Home growing is not yet legal. The new law requires the state to establish rules for medical patients by the end of 2021 and for all adults by the end of 2022. Cannabis lounges and social use websites are allowed. Cannabis delivery services are allowed. Previous cannabis convictions for crimes that are legal under the new law will be automatically deleted. The state’s existing medical marijuana program is being expanded to include more qualified terms and allow patients to purchase and consume smokable flowers. A five-person cannabis control committee sets rules, regulations and guidelines. The state will create equity programs that will include business loans, grants, and incubators. Cannabis tax revenue is reinvested in communities hardest hit by the war on drugs.

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

Show article by Bruce Barcott

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Beth Edmonds