Yes, 420-friendly New Yorkers have more — cough, cough — options than ever to score weed after the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act went into law in March.
But all the storefronts, bodegas, galleries and converted food trucks selling or "gifting" out a kaleidoscope of marijuana strains are still operating illegally because state officials have yet to set up regulations on sales. The legally sold variety of cannabis remains as elusive as ever in New York City.
Simon Malinowski, managing attorney of cannabis-focused law firm Harris Bricken’s New York office, wrote in a blog post that the language of the bill makes it clear lawmakers wanted to discourage anti-competitive behaviors.
“The legislature’s motivation for prohibiting vertical integration is woven into the language of the MRTA: to provide industry newcomers – especially social and economic equity applicants — a better chance to thrive, while also preventing monopolies,” he wrote.
Exceptions to the Rule
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday morning to legalize adult-use, recreational cannabis in New York and create the country’s second-largest recreational marijuana market.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) said on Tuesday that the legislature is “really, really, really close on marijuana” following negotiations with executive staff office over recent weeks. “We have gotten past the impasse of the impaired driving.”
“We are looking to get language that will I think be satisfactory in the next day or so,” she said during a virtual press briefing.
While Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D) didn’t explicitly confirm what kind of language was agreed upon, she said in the new radio interview that she’s “extremely pleased with the agreement that we have come to” with the governor when it comes to giving adults a home grow option and how to allocate cannabis tax revenue for social equity purposes.
Cuomo said during his address that it is an ethical imperative to legalize the cannabis in the state, according to the news outlet, and said he hopes to work with Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to coordinate policy reform efforts. Cuomo also called for the State University of New York to form a cannabis and hemp research center, Patch.com reported.
“I think it’s a rehash of the momentum that picked up last year,” Joshua Horn, partner at Fox Rothschild, told Cannabis Business Times.