New York now allows recreational marijuana, the culmination of an overwhelming legislative and executive push. The decriminalization of cannabis will boost the economy and those accused or convicted of marijuana-related offenses.
What exactly is now legal?
While New Yorkers may now buy, sell and use marijuana, that is not the end of the story. Marijuana transportation and possession still face restrictions:
· You may only possess 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of cannabis concentrate outside your home.
· You must secure your marijuana at home from easy access to children.
· There is a limit to the amount of marijuana plants one can cultivate.
Additionally, with recreational use comes concerns about intoxicated driving. An exact standard for what constitutes impairment for so-called “drugged driving” has been historically elusive. New York’s Department of Health and several higher education institutions will research methods of detection for cannabis-impaired vehicle operation.
However, there is also significant good news for those convicted of a marijuana-related crime. These individuals will have their criminal records expunged or get a new sentence if currently imprisoned.
Who benefits most from legalization?
Businesses and the state government will benefit from the sale and taxation of marijuana. However, advocates for social justice see very different benefits to this law. According to police statistics reviewed by CNBC, 94% of marijuana-related arrests were black and Latino residents of New York.
Moving forward, the full effects of marijuana legalization and its tangible impacts to people on a day-to-day basis is not known. However, many people currently facing the worst fallout from the war on drugs see a substantially better future on the horizon.