Cannabis Legislation comes to New York (March 29, 2021)

29 Mar 2021 | News

Marvin J. Miller | Paul J. Crath

March 29, 2021

Cannabis Legislation comes to New York

To our Clients and Friends:

This week New York is expected to become the 15th State to permit adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes.

A draft of the proposed legislation (simply titled “Cannabis Law”) was released this past weekend and is anticipated to be passed by the New York Assembly later this week and signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

Although the exact provisions of the Cannabis Law will be detailed as early as this week, the Cannabis Law appears to learn from the mistakes made in other jurisdictions (California and Oregon) while benefiting from states (Massachusetts) that have been viewed as having created a more workable regulatory framework.

Reports are that the Cannabis Law will contain a procedure for local community regulation and potential opt out focusing on local zoning and not dual licensing like California.  In addition, the main regulatory created body, the Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management (which will operate as an independent division within Alcoholic Beverage Control), will be charged with developing the specific licensing requirements, regulations, license issuances and related licensing fees.

As with other jurisdictions, the Cannabis Law attempts to correct the disproportionate impact on certain segments of New York citizens during the time cannabis was criminalized and directs the Cannabis Control Board to ensure at least 50% of all licenses are issued to social and economic equity applicants.  The Social Equity aspect of cannabis decriminalization has been a staple of cannabis laws with varying degrees of success.

In addition to requirements to develop a social and economic equity plan and the creation of a Chief Equity Officer as part of the Office of Cannabis Management, the Cannabis Law provides for the establishment of a one-time special licensing fee to fund social and economic equity and incubator assistance.

The one item that is missing in the New York Cannabis Law, and in the laws of every other State that has, or is considering, permitting recreational adult-use of cannabis, is being able to use banks and credit cards in the operation of a cannabis business.  On this front there may be some future developments in the House and Senate on crafting legislation permitting such access.

For further information or any questions on the Cannabis regulations in New York or California, please contact Marvin Miller (, Head of CMX’s Cannabinoids and Psychotherapeutics Practice Group

Crath Miller & Xistris LLP

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