Cannabis, commonly referred to as marijuana, pot, weed, and more, is now legal in New York State for adults aged 21 and over. However, it’s worth noting that legal adult-use sales have not commenced. The state has initiated Cannabis Conversations to educate the public on the critical aspects of the Cannabis Law, including health and safety information, and the potential opportunities arising from the new regulations.
However, marijuana legality comes with restrictions. Usage or possession by individuals under 21 is illegal, and it’s unlawful to distribute marijuana to minors. Moreover, marijuana can be potentially addictive, and there are resources available for those seeking help to cease use through the New York State Office of Addiction.
The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), signed into law on March 31, 2021, has legalized adult-use cannabis and established the new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Governed by a Cannabis Control Board, the OCM regulates adult-use, medical, and hemp cannabis. This act represents a significant shift in New York State’s approach to cannabis, prioritizing social equity and aiming to repair the effects of disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition in communities of color.
Under the MRTA, adults 21 years of age or older can legally possess, purchase, or transport up to three ounces of cannabis and up to twenty-four grams of concentrated cannabis. Adults are also permitted to gift or share the allowable quantities without remuneration.
Cannabis with 0.3% or less THC, classified as hemp, is also regulated in New York State. However, varieties containing more than 0.3% THC, known for their psychoactive effects, fall under the categories of adult-use and medical cannabis. For detailed information about the cultivation of hemp in New York, individuals can refer to the state’s Adult Use Information.
In addition to recreational use, the MRTA has provisions for medical cannabis. This includes the establishment of the OCM, which has the mandate to regulate the medical cannabis program comprehensively.
To ensure effective implementation and compliance with the cannabis laws, it is critical for stakeholders and the public to familiarize themselves with the regulations. For inquiries, the Office of Cannabis Management provides resources and can be contacted through their website or at [email protected].