By Brittany Kaplan
New Yorkers with marijuana convictions will be the first to hold cannabis retail licenses in the state, officials say. The policy, which aims to reserve 100 or more of the first retail licenses allowing marijuana sales for those affected by the drug’s criminalization, is to be announced Thurs., Mar. 10, by N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Ms. Hochul has proposed that $200 million in this year’s budget be funneled into helping New York’s first dispensaries, set to open late 2022 to early 2023, get on their feet. The move comes in the midst of statewide efforts to allow room in New York’s projected billion-dollar cannabis industry for those convicted of pot-related offenses prior to its legalization.
New York became the fifteenth U.S. state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in March of last year, when former governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation passed by state lawmakers approving the drug for nonmedical purposes.
The groundbreaking policy will allow those found guilty of crimes involving marijuana before its legalization, or those with a parent, spouse, child, or legal guardian convicted of a pot-related charge, to hold the state’s very first licenses to sell. Additionally, nonprofits able to prove their commitment to serving “justice-involved” New Yorkers may qualify.
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