The sponsors of the first recreational cannabis bill in New York have now introduced a new bill which will replace the one that wasn’t included in the budget framework read early this year. The sponsors of this new bill are convinced that this version stands a higher chance of success because it incorporates the ideas suggested during negotiations prior to reading the budget.
Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) says that the new bill creates a single government entity which will be responsible for regulating all the cannabis and cannabis-related products, such as hemp and CBD products.
Hemp and CBD products are included in this bill in order to remove the legal gray area since those products aren’t currently covered by any existing law. By including these products in this bill, the lawmakers want to save the time and resources which would have been used to draft and pass a separate bill for those products.
Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the Assembly Majority Leader and longstanding supporter of cannabis legalization, says that the new bill also has a social equity provision through which a portion of the tax revenue collected will be allocated for spending in communities which suffered the worst of the futile war on drugs.
Other provisions of the bill deal with expunging past criminal records, helping people from disadvantaged communities to enter the legal cannabis industry and agreeing on a taxation structure.
One major issue that was divisive was the home cultivation of marijuana. Opponents of cannabis legalization don’t want this included in any legalization law, while supporters, such as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, insist that home cultivation should be allowed so that “Big Marijuana” doesn’t dominate the industry.
Some money will also be set aside to facilitate the police to enforce the new recreational cannabis law, while more money will be allocated to cannabis research, drug prevention and treatment.
Another compromise which is included in the new bill relates to marijuana criminal record expungement. The previous bill recommended mass expungement and this was met with stiff opposition. The revised bill suggests that only misdemeanor cannabis convictions will be expunged.
Many aspects of the medical cannabis program are also tackled in this bill. For example, the bill seeks to allow doctors to exercise their discretion in determining whether medical cannabis could be helpful for a given patient, instead of being restricted to prescribing it only for patients who suffer from one or more of the 17 qualifying conditions listed in the law in place.
The entire cannabis industry, including Earth Science Tech Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) hope that this new bill receives a more favorable reception so that cannabis legalization isn’t delayed any longer.
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