Updates to the NYS Legalization Bill

Over the weekend, the final bill for cannabis legalization in NYS was released. Comprising a total of 128 pages, here are some of the major updates, changes, and clarifications from the initial language released. (You can read the original article breaking down the bill.) The governor and the legislature have voiced cohesive support, and the bill is expected to be signed into law by Thursday.

  • Convictions for cannabis-related activities made legal will be automatically expunged, a huge win for social equity and reparations.
  • No penalties for public possession of 3 ox of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrate. At home, residents are allowed to store up to 5 pounds of cannabis.
    • Maximum penalty of $5,000 for violation of legal possession laws.
  • The State Health Department will begin overseeing the study of technologies used to determine cannabis-impaired driving.
  • The CAB will be responsible for overseeing research done on the medicinal and agricultural side of cannabis production.
  • Medical patients will be able to obtain smokable flower.

Licenses

  • 7 types of licenses:
    • Cultivar (growing)
    • Processor
    • Distribution
    • Retail
    • Delivery
    • Nursery
    • On-site consumption
  • Licensed growers will also be allowed to hold processor and distribution licenses, but not a retail license.
  • Breaks down qualifications for getting licensed, which include:
    • No prior business-related felonies
    • Preference to women and minority-owned businesses
    • Preference to applications with a vested interest (and investment) in social equity and education programs
  • Licenses will be valid for two years
    • Recreational dispensaries will be subject to a licenses’ renewal fee in proportion to their earnings. This is a change from the current regulations for medical cannabis, where businesses must pay $200,000 every two years to the state.
  • Social equity applications may have all application and license fees waived.

Dispensaries

  • Imposes limits on the felonies allowed for dispensary manager.
    • Disqualifying crimes include money laundering, fraud, forgery, or anything to do with a minor.
  • No one under 18 is allowed to work at recreational dispensaries.
  • Retail and on-site consumption locations will not be allowed within 500 ft of schools or 200 ft of places of worship.
  • Early reports suggested on-site consumption locations would not be allowed to sell alcohol, but that is not stated.

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