recreational marijuana in NYC
recreational marijuana in NYC

Recreational Cannabis is Coming to New York City

Carnegie Deli, Empire State Building, Pre-Rolls, and the Knicks

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Thursday Dec 20, 2018

Recreational Cannabis Is Coming To New York City

The Big Apple has been lagging behind when it comes to adult-use cannabis, but if the NY governor gets his way, all that can change very soon.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has spoken up about legalizing recreational cannabis in New York next year, saying that it was high time to “legalize cannabis once and for all.” Currently, cannabis has only been legalized for medicinal purposes. But the fact that it’s the 2nd largest state in the country after California means that legalizing recreational cannabis could bring in as much as $1.3 billion in taxes annually.


Cuomo told the New York City Bar Association on Monday that part of his plans for 2019 would be to legalize “adult marijuana”, which would “address the forms of injustice which have for too long targeted the African-American and minority communities.”



Skewed Justice System And Racial Disparities


The newly reelected governor highlights the benefits of legalization for the minorities of New York City, who have been discriminated against when it comes to criminal convictions. New York, just like in other states, have an alarmingly high number of marijuana arrests focused on people of color.


“The fact is we have had two criminal justice systems: one for the wealthy and well-off, and one for everyone else, and that’s going to end.” It seems that New York’s governor has turned a new leaf with regards to his beliefs about cannabis, because just last year he called it a gateway drug. “What must also end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all,” he said.


Perhaps the pressure from the $40 billion cost that comes with fixing the city’s MTA, combined with the fact that former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, who ran against him in the governorship, endorses cannabis, has forced him to rethink his stand. 


He also said in a press release that he “will end the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.”


In June earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio together with Police Commissioner James O’Neill said that they are looking to reduce cannabis arrests. Instead of arresting people for smoking cannabis, they’ve started to issue summons instead. The only time that suspected smokers will be arrested is if they are still on probation or parole, have a violent criminal history, an open warrant, drive under the influence, or fail to produce identification. The laws took effect on September 1.


Every year, some 17,500 people are convicted of cannabis possession charges in the city alone. With the new rules, de Blasio says that around 10,000 of them would be reduced and instead replaced with summons with the new policy.


Research shows that there is “no good evidence” that cannabis arrests in the city have contributed to a decrease in serious crime. In fact, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says according to a 6-month study, cannabis arrests “waste an enormous amount of criminal justice resources for no punitive, rehabilitative, deterrent or other public safety benefit.”


De Blasio supports Cuomo’s approach towards legalization. In a statement sent to the New York Times, de Blasio said: “I have been convinced that we can establish a regulatory framework that keeps our streets safe, rights the wrongs of the past, and gives economic opportunity to communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.”


Should all go as planned, New York would be the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, joining 10 others and Washington DC. A 77-page report created by NYC officials made recommendations for approaching cannabis legalization, some of which include placing limitations on random drug testing for employees and job applicants, and automatically expunging criminal records for people convicted of cannabis offenses. “Public consumption should be prohibited unless at locally regulated consumption sites,” the report says. These sites already exist legally in other states including Nevada.


The report was compiled by officials from various sectors including the police, fire department, health officials, and individuals from the Small Business Services agency. People overseeing women and minority-owned business in the city also contributed their two cents’ worth.


Recreational Marijuana is Coming to New York City from CannabisNet on Vimeo.









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