As New Jersey begins sales of recreational marijuana, is New York not too far?
As adult-use recreational marijuana starts selling in New Jersey, New Yorkers are asking when they can expect it to be sold in the Empire State?
There are signs to suggest that New Yorkers are close to having recreational marijuana sold in New York, although there is no solid date yet.
Recreational marijuana was legalized last year, but the state is in the middle of carefully planning out how it will be sold, safely and fairly.
State leaders are optimistic that New York won’t be too far behind the Garden State.
"There's no push to go back on this and I don't think anybody wants to go back on this," says Brooklyn Sen. Jabari Brisport.
“We just gave out 52 licenses to cultivators who are our current hemp operators here in New York. They’ve been growing hemp in this state," says Tremaine Wright, of the New York Cannabis Control Board. "They are growing product that we hope to see on the shelves later this year in our conditional dispensaries.”
Wright adds that dispensary licenses will be offered later this year.
The first round of those licenses is slated to go to those who've had past marijuana convictions or have a family member convicted of a marijuana-related offense. The goal, according to state leaders, is to bring revenue to communities that have been hit hard by the war on drugs for decades.
The Cannabis Control Board voted last month on the regulations to distribute licenses. Those regulations are now in the public comment period.
Right now, one can own, at most, three ounces, but the sale is prohibited.
Brisport says he believes New York could expect to see sales by the summer of 2023.
The NYPD reminds New Yorkers as sales begin in New Jersey that one can be cited for driving while high, just like drunk driving.
Cannabis users must also be 21 years old or older. No one can sell recreational marijuana without a license.
Once marijuana goes on sale in New York, Torres says marijuana businesses may still face hurdles on the federal level.
"Even if the Biden administration is unlikely to prosecute, the next president could prosecute. That kind of uncertainty is going to stifle the cannabis industry in New York," Torres says.
The Cannabis Control Board says there will be another board meeting that will be open to the public in May and invite New Yorkers to give their input. They can give their opinions online at cannabisnewyork.gov.
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