New York’s Legal Weed Program Is Set to be The Best in the Nation

New York’s legal weed program is set to be the best in the nation, according to David Holland, executive and legal director of Empire State NORML. 


How great is New York State’s legal cannabis program? 

First of all, possession of up to three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrate is effective immediately for adults. 


Home Grow

Home cultivation, the bane of our collective existence, is permitted once regulations are adopted. Adults can grow a maximum of three mature plants and three immature plants. Households with two or more adults are permitted to grow twice that amount. 

“Home grow was a critical element as far as NORML was concerned,” said Holland, former legal counsel for High Times and president of the New York City Cannabis Industry Association (NYCCIA).

Social Equity and Automatic Expungement

New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) provides for automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone “with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law and provides necessary funding.”

In terms in fair reinvestment, the law stipulates that 40% of cannabis tax revenue will be reinvested in communities that have been disproportionately targeted by cannabis enforcement and the racist war on drugs as well as women and disadvantaged farmers. 

“We were no longer going to tolerate rampant abuse of law enforcement against people of color especially black people who suffered under the war on drugs with over-policing,” Holland said.

Twenty percent of revenue will go to schools, and 40% to drug treatment facilities and public education.


Home Delivery

Holland pointed out that there is already an informal yet extremely efficient infrastructure functioning among the legacy cannabis market operators. 

“Legacy market operators are very capable of continuing to operate efficiently and effectively. We’d like these so-called ‘outlaws’ to become in-laws. They clearly know how to run the industry whereas legislators in Albany have no idea.”


Public Consumption 

New York will have public consumption spaces, pop-up shops, and eventually catering licenses will be available. 


How many operating licenses? 

That has not been decided yet, so stay tuned. 


A tribute 

  Holland ended the interview with a tribute to those who worked long and hard for legalization. He specifically named two people. 

“We would not be here discussing this if it were not for people like [former High Times Magazine Chairman and civil rights attorney] Michael Kennedy and [NORML founder and attorney] Keith Stroup.”