As it stands, cannabis has not been legalized at the federal level. However, individual states have begun legalizing it at different levels of usage. The legal state of Cannabis in NY is up for discussion.
While the bill legalizing usage fell through in June, lawmakers in New York agreed on one that decriminalizes the possession of marijuana.
The new bill also expunges the record of certain marijuana convictions immediately. As long as convictions are within the new parameters, they are sealed. The entire process may take up to a year, but the future is becoming clearer.
According to the New York Times, and The State Division of Criminal Justice Services, about 160,000 people will see their marijuana convictions disappear.
The new law states that possessing less than two ounces of marijuana will not be considered a Class B misdemeanor. Instead, it will be a violation with monetary fines up to $200.
With that being said, those found to be in possession can still be arrested regardless of the new law.
Cannabis is currently legal in New York for medical use (as of 2014). As long as patients have certification from a doctor, they are safe. Medical marijuana may be in the form of liquids, capsules, lozenges, lotions, patches or oils.
As more states plan to legalize marijuana, the question remains about how the federal stance will pan out on cannabis.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the legalized use of recreational marijuana. With that being said, it stands to reason that another bill will be brought to the table soon. The Governor has already hosted summits with governors of neighboring states hoping to combine efforts in the legalization of cannabis.
When it comes down to it, the details of legalization are holding up the process.
It isn’t as cut-and-dried, as you might think and there are differing opinions on each of these questions.
In other words, decision-makers are looking to do things right the first time to prevent confusion and unnecessary negative repercussions.
Recently, Governor Cuomo brought on a director of cannabis programs who has experience in the development of various cannabis programs. It appears that organization is key in coming to an agreement on the legalization of marijuana in New York. Needless to say, the new director clearly has a lot on his plate.
Hemp products containing non-THC chemicals, referred to as CBD (short for cannabidiol), are currently regulated by a bill signed by Cuomo.
Unfortunately, the CBD industry is under scrutiny due to a lung condition that’s linked to vaping THC-related products.
There’s a lot of details to wade through when it comes to the different products of cannabis. Regardless it’s inevitable that legalization will receive further review, and more bills will surface.
In the State of the State address Cuomo said, “For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws.”
According to the New York Times, Senator Jamaal Bailey expressed a similar concern stating, “I think about individuals I’ve grown up with who have found themselves, I guess you could say, on the wrong side of the law. Their lives have been destroyed by marijuana possession that has been effectively legal in certain parts of our city.”
The decriminalization of marijuana is a great first step for the state of New York because it’s setting a new standard for the industry– not to mention what’s considered criminal. With these changes, lives and futures will change and outlook will improve.
There’s no doubt that the legalization of marijuana in New York will continue to be reviewed. Most likely, the state will join the ranks of 33 other states that have changed their stance on cannabis.
Exactly when the legalization takes place will depend largely on the hairy details associated with the management of the industry. On a federal level, it may take even longer to come to a consensus.