Jeffrey Hoffman is a licensed attorney in New York with over a decade of experience assisting clients ranging from large corporations to sole proprietorships. His practice focuses on advising clients in business negotiations and term sheet / contract drafting as well as securing licenses / permits in regulated industries such as cannabis and mobile vending.
On March 31, 2021, the Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) became the law of the land in New York. Generally, it legalized adult-use cannabis (also known as recreational marijuana) in the state and established a basic framework for licensing the cultivation, processing, distribution, retail dispensing, delivery, and on-site consumption of cannabis. The legislation also created the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) governed by a Cannabis Control Board.
Some parts of MRTA are already in full effect in New York. It is now legal for a person 21 years of age or older to possess and use cannabis products in various quantities depending on the kind of product (flower, vape, edible, etc). In a departure from other states, which strictly limit the consumption of cannabis to private homes or other private spaces, New York allows the smoking of cannabis in any location where smoking cigarettes is allowed.
Over the course of 2022, the OCM will draft a regulatory scheme for the implementation of MRTA. In particular, they will flesh out all of the rules for cannabis businesses and the 2 year renewable licenses for the cultivation, processing, distribution, retail dispensing, delivery, and on-site consumption of cannabis. As in other states, there will be a limit on the number of each kind of license available. With limited exceptions, businesses will only be allowed to have one of those kinds of licenses – for example, a processing licensee will not be able to also have a retail dispensing license.
However, MRTA provides for an additional kind of license – the microbusiness license.
This will be more broadly available and shall authorize the limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of a licensee’s own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products. This makes the microbusiness license one of the few instances in which vertical integration will be allowed.
As with other permitting and licensing programs in New York, a special effort will be made to include various groups in the license pool. Such groups include service-disabled veterans, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and those with an income lower than 80% of the median income of the county in which the license applicant resides.
New York has created some of the most liberal cannabis laws, not just in the United States, but anywhere in the world. Whereas most other jurisdictions have significant restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed, New York allows consumption anywhere cigarettes are allowed. Additionally, of all the jurisdictions which have legalized adult-use cannabis to date, New York has the most robust plan for on-site consumption lounges. It is quite likely that within the next five years, New York City (New Amsterdam) will take the title of “Cannabis Tourism Capital of the World” from the current holder: (Old) Amsterdam. Those that are interested in participating in this novel industry are well advised to start forming their business plans and preparing for the submission of their license application.
Law Office of Jeffrey Hoffman
200 West 81st Street
New York, NY 10024
Note: Cannabis possession and use remains illegal under federal law.
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City smells like a drug den of degenerates. Buildings just need to turn into nonsmoking buildings to keep the smell out of our homes. This is a gateway drug and it is worse then smoking non-filter camels for your lungs.
I keep waiting to see an article on the impact all the increased second-hand pot smoke is already having on non-smokers, people with respiratiry conditions, the elderly, children, but nope – not a word. None of the private conversations people are having about how much they hate the increased drug smoke are making it into the news. This isn’t the pot of 4 decades ago – it’s super- strong, and toxic to a portion of the population. Why couldn’t the government have just legalized edibles?
Thanks for this sponsored article. I learned a lot. Last 35 years I’ve chosen to smoke rather than drink. In that time, I can’t even count how many friends and acquaintances have had issues with alcohol. Nobody I know has any problems with smoking. Time to move on from Reefer Madness ideology. We’ve learned a lot since then. So to the commentators above, stop the gibberish that second hand pot smoke is harmful. That’s as truthful as the anti-vax rhetoric. Just retelling of made up issues.
That being said, I am upset NY allows weed smoking wherever cigs are allowed. I can’t walk anywhere in the city, at any hour, without smelling weed. And I love the smell of weed, but enough is enough. Kids are everywhere. My kids are with me. There’s a reason you can’t just walk around with open beer cans. Same should apply to weed. A bit more discretion would be very helpful. That’s not asking too much. Sure, smoke away, just in the privacy of your own home and not on the sidewalk in front of buildings.