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New York State Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

On March 28, 2021, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he had reached a tentative agreement for comprehensive legislation that would, among other things, legalize the recreational use of cannabis products for adults.  Three days later, he signed the legislation into law. Although certain cannabis possession and use was decriminalized in 2019, the new law comes after years of failed attempts at legislative legalization.

The new legislation:

  • Establishes the “Office of Cannabis Management”;
  • Legalizes, with conditions, personal possession, home possession, and home growing of cannabis;
  • Expands existing medical cannabis use rules;
  • Creates a two-tier licensing structure for cannabis growers, processors and retailers;
  • Includes incentives for minority and woman-owned businesses, distressed farmers and service-disabled veterans;
  • Establishes a new cannabis tax structure;
  • Creates boundaries for counties, cities, towns, and villages who may wish to adopt local cannabis laws; and
  • Restructures the current criminal penalty framework and expunge certain previous marijuana convictions.

A copy of the current version of the bill can be found here.

The attorneys in our Hemp & Cannabis Law sub-practice group will continue to review this legislation and the regulations that are expected to come later this year. Please contact Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP to see if we can offer you the support you may need in this evolving industry.

*This information should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. The contents are intended for general information purposes only.