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What Long Islanders should know about cannabis being legalized in NY

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By Angela Sasso |

This month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation legalizing recreational marijuana, with the potential for New York State becoming one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the U.S.

In short, the bill states anyone over the age of 21 will be allowed to possess up to three ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrates (such as oils, carts and waxes). New Yorkers can cultivate up to six plants for personal use on their property.

Here’s what’s happening:

• New Yorkers with previous marijuana convictions will have their records expunged, if they were convicted for possession up to the current legal amount. 

• It is still — and will continue to be — illegal to smoke or ingest cannabis in schools, workplaces or a car, parks, playgrounds and any places where tobacco smoking is not permitted.

• Eventually, in time, there will be dispensaries at which to purchase legal marijuana, as well as consumption sites.

• Towns and villages will have the option to opt-out of having dispensaries and consumption sites established within their borders. This will not disrupt the people of those areas from being able to obtain cannabis from within a neighboring town.

But there might be pushback on elected leaders as they face the decision on whether or not to opt-out. Take this statement:

“We’re all very pleased to see the MRTA pass, especially with its strong social equity provisions, home-grow and social consumption licenses,” said Steven Abreu of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an organization that advocates for the reform of marijuana laws. “We’re ready on Long Island to fight back against any moves by local officials to opt out of legal cannabis storefronts and revenue.”

The new laws will help provide more legal cannabis products and more options for consumption methods than what the state’s current medical marijuana law currently allows for. However, it could take up to a year or more for these products to become available.

Business proposals will be due to the state by Dec. 31, 2021.

Photo: A cannabis-growing facility in Canada.

Photo by Richard T on Unsplash.