New York’s new law legalizing cannabis for adult use is arguably the most progressive in the nation.
Every year since 2013, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was submitted to the New York Legislature by its prime sponsors, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D) and Sen. Liz Krueger (D), with the primary objective of ensuring that members of minority communities who have been negatively and disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition would benefit from legalization.
The amended MRTA accomplishes that goal, creating a social and economic equity program to encourage those individuals to participate in the adult-use market. The primary social equity components of the new law include: expanding eligibility of social equity applicants; creation of a community reinvestment fund supported by cannabis tax revenue; and automatic expungement of past criminal cannabis convictions.
The law also expands New York’s existing medical cannabis program, permits home growing, and establishes an Office of Cannabis Management that is charged with creating and implementing regulations for the adult-use program.
Social Equity Applicants
Unlike other adult-use states with social equity programs, New York’s law expands the qualifications for a social equity applicant to include minorities, women-owned business enterprises, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans.
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