Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York State, signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana last week. This was a few hours after legislators had sent the draft law to his office after both chambers passed it the day before.
Speaking after enacting the law, Gov. Cuomo said that the signing was a historic event, a day on which harsh sentences and decades’ long wrongs would be corrected. He added that the new law would expand New York’s economy, expunge previous cannabis convictions and give priority to the worst-affected communities as the benefits of legalized marijuana are shared.
The governor revealed that he was proud that marijuana legalization, which was at the top of his agenda for the state this year, had become a reality in a way that allowed safety, social equity and economic impacts of the marijuana sector to be addressed comprehensively.
Speaking of comprehensive, the new law is 128 pages long and has a number of notable provisions. For example, with immediate effect, no one will be penalized for possessing less than 3 oz. of cannabis flower or 24 grams of cannabis concentrates. Another noteworthy provision indicates that people who were convicted for cannabis-related crimes that no longer qualify as crimes under the new law will have those convictions expunged automatically. This automatic expungement is a crucial provision since some would-be beneficiaries may not have the means, financial or legal representation, to pursue a manual process of wiping the slate clean.
The law also includes a concession made by the governor to allow people to grow marijuana at home for their own use. A maximum of six plants is permitted, and households with two or more adults can cultivate a maximum of 12 plants, half of which may be mature plants.
Home cultivation will also be allowed for patients enrolled on the medical marijuana program. However, home cultivation for recreational or medical use can only commence once regulators establish rules to oversee home grows. The rules are, by law, expected to be ready within six months for medical marijuana beneficiaries while regulators have a maximum of 18 months to get home-grow rules ready for recreational users.
It should also be noted that the marijuana legalization law prohibits granting licenses to companies that want to be vertically integrated. The exceptions to this rule are the existing medical cannabis companies as well as applicants who wish to run cannabis microbusinesses. The law also has provisions for allowing social marijuana consumption sites to operate, as well as delivery services.
Additionally, jurisdictions, such as municipalities, have been given an opportunity for the rest of this year to decide whether or not they will welcome marijuana businesses within their borders. If the local authorities opt out, voters can use a referendum to overturn the ban.
The countdown is now on to the launch of recreational marijuana sales expected to be in 2022. Only established cannabis companies such as Gage Growth Corp. (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) in other state-legal markets may know what the preparations for launching legal recreational cannabis sales are like.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Gage Growth Corp. (d.b.a. Gage Cannabis) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/GAGE
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