New York marijuana legislation still leaves timeline largely unclear

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Around one week since historic marijuana legislation passed in New York, and in some ways, everything has changed. However, in others, they remain the same.

“Possessing cannabis is not a crime anymore. Smelling like cannabis is not grounds to search a vehicle, so in terms of criminal justice perspective, a lot has changed from last week. From an industry perspective though, nothing has really changed at all,” explains Kaelan Castetter, CEO of Empire Standard and Director of Policy Analysis for Castetter Cannabis Group.

Much of the changes to New York’s marijuana regulations will have to come from the new Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board. However, unlike other states, New York didn’t specify when leadership appointments need to happen.

“Certainly it’s an exception, not the rule, right? Most states do have some sort of timeline for implementation,” Castetter says in a Zoom meeting with NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton. “It’s definitely an oddity when you compare to our neighbors.”

Without them, home cultivation can’t move forward. The law says you can have six mature and six immature plants in a home or on a property with more than one adult over 21, but only after the Office of Cannabis Management issues regulations. These rules have to come out within six months for medical marijuana users, but adult-use growers will have to wait until 18 months after the first authorized retail sale.

“Homegrown has always been thought of as—referred to as—this bogeyman, right? Not only is it going to hurt the industry, but it’s going to be tough for law enforcement and increase illegal activity. It just doesn’t happen, and it hasn’t panned out that way in other states,” Castetter says.

“Take alcohol as an example, right? It’s hard to say that home brewing or winemaking affects the sale of wine or beer at the retail level, it just doesn’t. What it does do is create more informed consumers who will probably bring more attention to the craft marketplace for cannabis,” he goes on to say.

The retail arm of recreational marijuana’s legalization is already projected to take at least a year or two to set up. Castetter says he hopes we don’t see what he calls the “bureaucratic slowing” that delayed CBD regulations in the past.

“We don’t want to be sitting here next year and just having regulations rolled out,” he says.

The new marijuana law did make three ounces possession or 24 grams marijuana concentrate outside the home and five pounds possession inside the home effective immediately. Penalties for marijuana use in vehicles did not change and still apply.

The NYS Department of Health will be required to consult with higher education professionals to research methods for detecting cannabis impairment in motorists. Only after this research is completed can the DOH create regulations and certify a method for traffic safety.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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