In the last week of May, New York Lawmakers unveiled an amended Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, Despite the fact that the proposal is very similar to the proposal that was dropped from the budget agreement in April, lawmakers hope that compromises reached since then could help push the legalization over the finish as soon as the summer.
Here are some of the changes, for better or worse. In the old bill, people were allowed to have up to two pounds of cannabis. The new bill? Three ounces. But in the original bill, the language that would have allowed New Yorkers to grow up to four plants were stripped out of the bill by lobbyists for big marijuana. The new bill restores that right, and even increases the number of plants people would be allowed to grow to six.
The proposal calls for the establishment of the Office of Cannabis Management, controlled by the governor, and built along the lines of the State Liquor Authority that regulates alcohol sales in New York. That board would control both the states THC sales, but also the growth and sale from the completely legal hemp CBD market. New York State first authorized hemp cultivation in the summer of 2017.
The proposal does have several popular social justice amendments. The bill calls for a full 50% of all cannabis revenue should go to communities that suffered greatly under the previous laws. It also includes new language that would mean the complete clearing the record of any New Yorker convicted of a low level drug offense. The previous bill had called for those records to just be sealed — which means law enforcement could have reopened them under certain conditions.
That all sounds pretty good, right? But the Atlantic WeedBoard’s perspective? Fat Chance.
Why? Two reasons. First, although he gives reform lip service, lets not forget he’s been Governor Cuomo since 2011, and has done very little to create a ripe atmosphere for cannabis reform — and he still almost never brings it up. That’s not a positive sign.
But the bigger problem is of the tk states that have legalized Cannabis, only one — Vermont — has done it by legislative process rather than at the ballot box. And in Vermont, it’s a very open question how that’s working out. So ultimately, New Yorkers will likely to have to approve legal cannabis at the ballot box — and the cost of that campaign may cost as much as 75 million dollars.
Meanwhile, the New York State licensed hemp cbd operations, like Head+Head in upstate Cortland, are growing great guns! Head+Heal, a completely legal hemp CBD product with THC certified as under .3 percent, are already selling their organic high quality CBD oil, and have expanded their grow op from 15 acres last year to 75 this year.