STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Gov. Cuomo signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana in New York

Associated Press Photo

New Yorkers can now possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis under a legalization bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Posted: Mar 31, 2021 11:09 AM
Updated: Mar 31, 2021 11:44 AM

New Yorkers can now possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis under a legalization bill signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Criminal justice reform advocates hope the legislation signed Wednesday will help redress the inequities of a system that has locked up people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.

The legislation provides protections for cannabis users in the workplace, housing, family court and in schools, colleges and universities, and sets a target of providing half of marijuana licenses to individuals from underrepresented communities.

Sales of recreational-use marijuana won’t become legal for an estimated 18 months until the state draws up regulations.

The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act contains the following provisions:

Establish the Office of Cannabis Management

The Office of Cannabis Management will enforce regulations governing medical, adult-use cannabinoid hemp. It will be governed by a five-member board, with three members appointed by the governor and one appointment by each house. OCM will be an independent office operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority.

Medical Cannabis

The legislation will expand the list of medical conditions that make someone eligible to use medical marijuana. The state will also increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient and prmit home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients.

Adult-Use Cannabis

The legislation will create a two-tier licensing structure that will allow for a large range of producers by separating growers and processors from also owning retail stores.

The legislation creates licenses for producers and distributors and the legislation will implement strict quality control, public health and consumer protections.

A social and economic equity program will aim to give 50% of licenses to minority- or woman-owned businesses, or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry.

The bill implements a new cannabis tax structure that will replace a weight-based tax with a tax per mg of THC at the distributor level, with different rates depending on final product type. The wholesale excise tax will be moved to the retail level with a 9% state excise tax. The local excise tax rate will be 4% of the retail price. Counties will receive 25% of the local retail tax revenue and 75% will go to the municipality.

Cannabinoid Hemp

The legislation permits the sale of hemp flower in the cannabinoid hemp program, and allows for smokeable forms only when adult use retail stores are operational.

Adult-Use Cannabis Tax Revenue

All cannabis taxes will be deposited in the New York state cannabis revenue fund. Revenue covers reasonable costs to administer the program and implement the law. The remaining funding will be split three ways:

  • 40% to Education
  • 40% to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20% to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Municipal Opt-Out

Cities, towns, and villages may opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by Dec. 31, or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. They cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization.

Traffic Safety

The New York State Department of Health will work with institutions of higher education to conduct a controlled research study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving. After completion of the research study, DOH may create and implement rules and regulations to approve and certify a test for the presence of cannabis in drivers.

The legislation includes additional funding for drug recognition experts and law enforcement to ensure safe roadways.

The use of cannabis by drivers will remain prohibited and will carry the same penalties as it does currently.

Personal Possession and Home Cultivation

The following conditions apply to growing cannabis at home and personal possession of cannabis outside the home:

  • Personal possession outside of the home: up to 3 ounces cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • Home possession: amends limits of what is permitted in the home, which must be kept in a secure location away from children
  • Home grow: permitted under the bill subject to possession limits in 18 months after first adult-use sales begin for adult recreational use and subject to regulations of the Medical Program being promulgated no sooner than 6 months:
    • 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants for adults over 21
      • 6 mature plants and 6 immature plants maximum per household

Criminal Justice and Record Expungement

The cannabis penalty framework will be restructured to avoid the criminalization seen in prohibition. Reduced penalties will be implemented for possession and sale.

  • Creates automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law and provides necessary funding
  • Adds cannabis to the clean indoor air act which establishes a baseline on where cannabis can be smoked or vaped
  • Municipalities and local governments are permitted to make laws that are more restrictive than the CIAA. Contains various provisions to ensure that cannabis is treated as a lawful substance and to prevent discriminatory enforcement

Protections for the Use of Cannabis and Workplace Safety

Unlawful discrimination will be prohibited and workplace safety protections will be implemented.

Public Health and Education Campaign

OCM will establish a public health and education campaign and work with neighboring states and associations to coordinate actions and policies to protect regional health and safety.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1998912

Reported Deaths: 51579
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings2647539990
Queens2635139581
Suffolk1935463314
Nassau1773443116
Bronx1748526394
New York1322964329
Westchester1257262245
Erie825881706
Richmond707011753
Monroe611141034
Orange46133782
Rockland45700941
Onondaga36061661
Dutchess27982435
Albany23679345
Oneida21454497
Niagara18314333
Broome17417348
Saratoga14418160
Ulster13039241
Schenectady12420192
Rensselaer10679136
Putnam1021791
Chautauqua8419134
Chemung7162133
Oswego698690
Ontario688792
Steuben6296141
St. Lawrence621795
Sullivan615368
Cayuga587190
Jefferson546565
Wayne526067
Cattaraugus516981
Genesee5065121
Herkimer4930107
Clinton455032
Madison430286
Fulton408186
Tompkins405849
Livingston401858
Montgomery3896116
Columbia383299
Cortland354660
Tioga341258
Warren338656
Wyoming326151
Otsego319647
Allegany318583
Greene312674
Chenango309174
Washington285755
Orleans277683
Lewis245734
Franklin240312
Delaware217036
Seneca188356
Schoharie155215
Essex150426
Yates111026
Schuyler99014
Hamilton3012
Unassigned14367
Out of NY0216
Rome
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Binghamton
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 47°
Rome
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 46°
Rome
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 46°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Enter the Rock Your Body Giveaway from Alivana Aesthetics
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!