How Soon Will Marijuana Conviction Records Be Expunged?
Where Can You Smoke Marijuana?
“Cities, towns and villages would be able to have that discretion, but not counties as a whole,” Sen. Jeremy Cooney explained. “So if you’re from Rochester or Monroe County, they can’t say that there will be no retail dispensary allowed in Monroe County.”
How Much Marijuana Can You Possess Right Now?
There are exceptions, such as no smoking in the car even while it’s parked and no smoking on outdoor patios at bars and restaurants.
How soon will this be possible? No later than 18 months after the first legal marijuana sale in New York. This means not until 2023 at the earliest.
“Social consumption sites are created for those people cannot smoke where they live,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes explained. “And clearly you can’t or you shouldn’t, be walking up and down the street using a product because in most places, you can’t even smoke at a bus stop in Erie County.”
Technically, immediately and automatically. However, the law allows for the Office of Court Administration to take up to two years to go through and dig up past marijuana convictions.
Federal law also prohibits people from smoking cigarettes in public housing, which is one of the reasons the state will be looking at creating social consumption sites.
Can New Yorkers Start Growing Cannabis Plants for Recreational Use?
The Office of Cannabis Management will be overseen by a Cannabis Control Board made up of five members. Three members, including the chair, will be appointed by the governor and then the Senate and Assembly would appoint one member each. The Governor’s pick for chair must be approved by the Senate.
Under the MRTA, New Yorkers (21 and up) will be able to grow up to three mature plants and three immature plants at their home. If there are multiple people living at one residence, then New Yorkers can grow up to six mature and six immature plants per household.
Right now, New Yorkers can smoke marijuana almost everywhere they can smoke tobacco.
“Sort of the idea is to delay it a little bit,” said Axel Bernabe, counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Allow dispensaries to get up and running. Allow folks to have access through regulated channels. And then if they still want to grow their own, like craft brewery, brew beer at home, you would be able to do that. And we would issue regulations 18 months from the first sale.”
Recreational marijuana has now been legal in New York for about two weeks.
What Is the Office Of Cannabis Management?
Landlords that allow for smoking on the premises must also allow for cannabis consumption. But this also means no smoking in parks, public transportation and bars.
This will be regulated by the Office Cannabis Management.
Eventually under this law, New Yorkers will be able to store up to five pounds of marijuana at their home. However, this part of the law does not go into effect until 18 months after the first legal recreational sale.
Under the MRTA, the Office of Cannabis Management was launched to regulate the recreational and existing medical marijuana programs.
“It’s a lot more complicated than one might think, because sometimes charges can be grouped together, where they’re not specified,” Cooney said. “That is something that’s going to take a little bit more nuance and time and so we built that into the legislation.”
Right now, New Yorkers 21 years old and older can possess, obtain and transport up to 3 ounces of cannabis. New Yorkers can also possess up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis oil.
Counties will not be able to prohibit recreational sales, but cities will.
While there are portions of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) that became legal right away, there are certain parts of the law that New Yorkers will have to wait for.
There will also be an advisory board made up of 13 members. Six members will be appointed by the legislature and seven by the governor.
New York’s Cannabis Control Board issued regulations Thursday to allow medical marijuana users and their caregivers to grow their own supply at home.
Medical marijuana has been legal in The Empire State since 2014, but it hasn’t always been easy to access. Patients in New York have to be approved by a medical professional and must acquire their marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Those products can be expensive and aren’t typically covered by insurance. One company, Vireo Health, recommends patients bring between $100 and $350 on their first visit to a dispensary.
This is the first major step taken by the Cannabis Control Board to put the provisions of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act into action. The law, which also legalized recreational marijuana in New York, passed in March. It included permission for home cultivation of medical marijuana but only after the board put regulations in place.
The board had six months to issue those rules, but former Gov. Andrew Cuomo never appointed its members during his tenure and that deadline passed.
Hochul was quick to assemble the Cannabis Control Board upon taking office in August. It held its second meeting on Thursday.
The proposal, now open to public comment for 60 days, would permit the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants in a private residence. The regulation will take effect after the commentary period closes and the board finalizes its language.
"I applaud Governor [Kathy] Hochul, the Cannabis Control Board and the entire team at the Office of Cannabis Management for swiftly addressing this long-standing issue for certified patients and their caregivers,” State Senator Diane Savino said in a statement on the new regulations.
“Thanks to the quick action by Governor Hochul and the Legislature in appointing the Board and agency leadership, we are moving full-steam ahead and look forward to continuing to expand the medical program and building a new industry that will operate safely and deliver opportunity to the communities most harmed by the war on drugs,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said in a statement on Thursday’s vote to approve the medical marijuana regulations.
Why? They’re still getting set up.
“We may not be exactly on time, but we’re not that far behind,” Sen. Savino said. “I fully anticipate that we will be catching up to speed and exceeding everybody’s goals and hopes.”
The Office of Cannabis Management now has a working number set up on its website. An automated voice explains the new law and offers first time marijuana users advice.
“If you haven’t used cannabis before or it has been a while, it’s good to start low and go slow,” the automated voice said.
The Cannabis Control Board plans to meet for the first time publicly on Oct. 5.
The new Office of Cannabis Management and its governing body, the Cannabis Control Board, will now be overseeing both the recreational and medical marijuana programs.
Once fully implemented, the expanded medical marijuana program will eventually allow for the sale of whole flower, allow for delivery services and add new qualifying conditions.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Dr. Dahmer said. “We are ready to begin construction on a 200,000-square-foot expansion to our cultivation processing plant in Johnston, New York, where we have amazing team ready to support New Yorkers that are added to this program and participate in this program. So we’re ready for some traction.”
Dr. Stephen Dahmer, chief medical officer of Goodness Growth Holdings, Vireo Health, one of the first companies to offer medical marijuana to patients in New York, said they are eager to see the industry expand and are preparing to be an integral part of the growing medical marijuana program.
Well, it has now been six months, but the Office of Cannabis Management still has not released these regulations.
The process has been slow moving, but now that Gov. Kathy Hochul has made key appointments to the agency, things are starting to fall into place.
“They say you’re not supposed to see how the sausage is made, but I think this time it really is important,” Sen. Savino said. “We’re creating a new industry and an industry that affects three different areas of cannabis, not just adult use and how it’s going to be developed in New York State. We have an opportunity to really lead in this country, where other states have not.”
State Sen. Diane Savino, who has led the way on medical marijuana program, said she is not too concerned right now.
It will eventually be up to this agency to create regulations and issue licenses. Before, it was the Department of Health that oversaw the medical marijuana program.
New York’s new marijuana law, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, allows for medical marijuana patients to start growing plants at home six months after the bill is signed and after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations.
Right now, it seems that medical marijuana patients will have to wait until at least Tuesday, when the Cannabis Control Board meets, for further clarification on when they can start growing plants at home.