I’ve been following the legalization of cannabis journey in NYS for the past 3 years. During that time I have met, and been blocked by, several prohibitionists on Twitter. I’ve also attended listening sessions the DoH carried out where both pro and anti legalization folks came to talk. Some of the craziest things I’ve ever heard in my life have come out of these prohibitionist’s mouths.
During the listening session someone came up to talk and said that in the Bible, the end times of man will come at the hand of *any* drug and legalization cannabis would bring about Armageddon. The usual suspects at such sessions came out including the police and teachers. Police were, and still are, concerned about driving safety. The teachers, of course, were worried about youth access to cannabis(even though it’s illegal for persons under 21 to possess or use cannabis).
Listening to the MRTA debates in both the Assembly and Senate yesterday made me feel I was in a time warp. From statements of cannabis being a gateway drug to doomsday prophecies of our streets, below are several of the statements that struck me as just amazing:
“There’s carnage in the streets where they have legalized marijuana.”Senator Phil Boyle
“This will cost the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers.”Senator Borrello
“No one is going to buy from these new stores. They are going to continue to buy from their dealer where they get this stuff laced with fentanyl and all sorts of psychedelics..”Assemblymember Michael Montesano
“This will be the ruin of our state..”Assemblymember Keith Brown
“We are setting up our communities to fail.”Senator Fred Akshar
Well, after years of hard work and effort, New York State has finally legalized the adult use of psychoactive cannabis!!!
While I don’t think the bill is perfect, it is a GIGANTIC step forward for this state and legalization throughout the country.
Congrats to all the organizers, leaders, and people who wrote, called, and emailed their elected officials to make their voice heard!
So, we started off the 2021 legislative session with the usual promises of the past 2 years; this year we’re “committed” to legalizing and that it was a “priority” for Gov. Cuomo. Nothing much changed at first, legislative leaders wanted to pass their MRTA while Cuomo wanted the CRTA to pass as part of the budget process. They seemed to be locked in a stalemate, again.
This all changed due to other issues Cuomo was suddenly facing. First, he is under accusations that he directed officials to report different nursing home COVID death numbers. Second, he is also facing several sexual harassment accusations. Both of these, combined, are adding significant pressure on Cuomo to demonstrate he can effectively lead. Using this pressure, legislative leaders were able to finally negotiate the details of a legalization bill that both houses and Cuomo agreed on.
At around 10PM on March 27th, the final bill text was released. While I don’t think the bill is perfect, I see it as a good compromise with the following highlighted details:
- Automatic expungement of criminal records for things that are no longer crimes
- Homegrow is allowed with a maximum of 6 plants
- Homegrow is delayed until 18 months after the first recreational shop opens
- Final regulations for homegrow will be provided by the Office of Cannabis Management(so, it could still be overly restricted).
- Employment protections remain for off-work cannabis use
- Strong provisions for equity and social justice measures
- Adults can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis outside of the home
- The odor of cannabis is no longer a reason for searches
As of this writing, the bill is starting to make its way through committees with a planned vote as early as Wednesday the 31st.
While all the news of legislative leaders and Cuomo agreeing on the bill and promises that it will pass, the biggest tell is when the prohibitionists start admitting defeat:
So congrats, NY! We’re finally going to have legal cannabis! Smoke one if you got one!