New York


Why New York’s Cannabis Industry Can’t Shut Out the LGBTQ Community

lesbian couple

The State of New York is on its way to fostering the most diverse and equitable cannabis industry in the country, as it will require that about half of all business licenses be awarded to social equity applicants. However, as it stands, the social equity measures outlined in the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) do not include the LGBTQ community, drastically outcasting many of those impacted by prohibition as well as those who served as trailblazers in the marijuana legalization movement.


Almost Half of New York Towns Opt Out of Pot, for Now

new york city

‘Not in my backyard,’ towns say

Around half of New York cities and towns don’t want marijuana dispensaries or consumption lounges, a cautionary signal for companies hoping to do business in the Empire State.

New York is expected to start recreational marijuana sales in the next year or so, likely becoming the second-biggest market after California, with around $4.2 billion in projected sales. Yet when given a Dec. 31 deadline to opt out of participating, 47% of the state’s 1,521 municipalities opted out of having dispensaries and 54% opted out of having consumption sites, according to data compiled by the Rockefeller Institute of Government as of Jan. 7.


NY Gov. Pledges $200M To Boost Social Equity Efforts As Part Of Cannabis Legalization Program

New York city


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) is set to pledge $200 million to support social equity applicants within the state’s burgeoning marijuana market.

On Wednesday, Hochul revealed an extensive State of the State book, laying out the plan for 2022, including policies she will pursue as well as her intentions to promote equity and economic justice in the cannabis industry.


Rise of the farmers: Small NY group becomes cannabis power player


One of the most influential groups helping set policy for New York’s legal cannabis industry is led mostly by farmers with little prior political experience — but with early success in representing small to mid-sized marijuana businesses, the group is punching above its weight.


With opt-out deadline in the rearview, municipalities await NYS marijuana regulations


The deadline has passed for municipalities in New York State to opt out of recreational marijuana sales and consumption. Over 600 have said no to dispensaries, and over 700 say they will not allow consumption sites as of now.

Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel said his city has not opted out of either opportunity, and he is excited about the economic growth recreational marijuana will bring.

“We are a city that doesn’t have a lot of economic type business that fosters a lot of taxes for us, so something like that probably would,” he explained, “especially a growing facility.”


Democratic lawmaker wants to extend marijuana law benefits to LGBTQ people


New York Sen. Jeremy Cooney's bills respond to LGBTQ people's disproportionately high incarceration rate.

New York State Sen. Jeremy Cooney (D) has filed a bill calling for gay, lesbian, and bisexual New Yorkers to qualify for the state’s cannabis social equity program.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized marijuana, requires 50% of cannabis business licenses to be granted “to individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, certified MWBEs, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans.”


Legal marijuana must bring true equity

scale of justice

On March 30, 2021, tears glistened in my eyes as I announced the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in the state Assembly. It had been eight long years since sen. Liz Krueger, my ally and co-sponsor, introduced the landmark bill in the state Senate, a blink of an eye compared to the decades of suffering and overcriminalization inflicted on communities of color by prohibition. Our herculean work was supported by a decade of effort and advocacy from courageous legislators and advocates.


Syracuse University to offer students cannabis certification programs

lecture hall

Syracuse University is getting students ready for an emerging type of green thumb.

The university is partnering with a California-based cannabis education company called Green Flower to start offering students cannabis certificate programs in January, with the goal of opening doors for interested students to working in the industry.

The market is growing, and with more states like New York legalizing recreational marijuana, 77,000 new jobs were created in the field in 2020.

Green Flower focuses on three points of education: cannabis business, medicine and ever-culture, along with law and policy to help students navigate this booming trade.


Legal weed: 400 New York localities opt out of cannabis sales. Here's where


Amid the expected revelry of bringing in the new year, New Yorkers will also have a clearer picture of where they might be able to buy and consume legal marijuana. 

Dec. 31 marks the deadline of when cities, villages, and towns can opt-out of allowing licenses for either marijuana consumption lounges or retail dispensaries within their jurisdictions, according to New York's cannabis law. Counties don't have that option

And so far, about 400 municipalities have done so.

The localities were given the authority to adopt a law to withhold either or both of those licenses as part of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the state law approved in March that legalized the sale of recreational marijuana.


Wet summer leaves cannabis farmers concerned about climate impacts


With parts of New York experiencing record rainfall this year, cannabis farmers are finding extreme weather to be a significant cause for concern as the state moves ahead with its legalized adult-use market.

Cannabis plants are particularly sensitive to heavy rain and heat. Many farmers struggled with the former this year, some losing large swaths of their entire crops.

“Because hemp is so sensitive to water, the plants literally drowned and died because the roots couldn’t get any oxygen,” Allan Gandelman*, president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association told WSKG while walking through a cannabis field at his farm in Cortland.


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