“Cities, towns and villages would be able to have that discretion, but not counties as a whole,” Sen. Jeremy Cooney explained. “So if you’re from Rochester or Monroe County, they can’t say that there will be no retail dispensary allowed in Monroe County.”
The Office of Cannabis Management will be overseen by a Cannabis Control Board made up of five members. Three members, including the chair, will be appointed by the governor and then the Senate and Assembly would appoint one member each. The Governor’s pick for chair must be approved by the Senate.
“Social consumption sites are created for those people cannot smoke where they live,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes explained. “And clearly you can’t or you shouldn’t, be walking up and down the street using a product because in most places, you can’t even smoke at a bus stop in Erie County.”
Eventually under this law, New Yorkers will be able to store up to five pounds of marijuana at their home. However, this part of the law does not go into effect until 18 months after the first legal recreational sale.
Changes to New York’s medical program may happen faster than when recreational sales are expected to roll out. However, an exact date is still unknown.
New Yorkers over the age of 21 will eventually be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home, with a maximum of three mature and three immature plants per adult. Each household, no matter the number of adults, will be limited to 12 plants.
Birenbaum said he expects it will take three to four years to create a market with the cultivation capacity and dispensary numbers to meet the demands of consumers.
Soon: New York adults will be allowed to grow cannabis plants at home
Norman Birenbaum, New York’s director of cannabis programs, and Axel Bernabe, an assistant counsel to Cuomo, have been the governor’s point people on cannabis reform and are expected to have a big hand in the state’s cannabis program moving forward.
Cannabis was already available for medical use and largely decriminalized in the Empire State. Still, the new law has some changes that will be more pronounced than others in daily life.
Soon: New York’s medical program will expand
In part, that’s because specific regulations need to be written by the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board. Those bodies are responsible for regulating the industry under the new law.
The state plans to set up a new license that would allow people to consume marijuana on-site at various locations. Licenses for on-site consumption are limited to three per person, and owners of these licenses may not be able to qualify for other licenses, such as cultivation or retail.