A timeline of when New Yorkers can legally smoke, grow, and sell marijuana You can start to see where the Venn diagram problem lies here: Because of so many structural barriers, the stigma of criminal convictions, and racial inequality, there aren`t many people walking around with marijuana convictions and then running profitable — at least not legal—businesses. Many operators in the traditional market are quite profitable, but that doesn`t count. In New York City, more than 19,000 kg (41,000 lbs) of marijuana grew like weeds in the counties until 1951, when the White Wing Squad, led by Department of Sanitation Inspector General John E. Gleason, was tasked with destroying the many marijuana farms that had sprung up throughout the city. The Brooklyn Public Library reports that this group was held to a high moral standard and was forbidden « to enter saloons, use mean language, and neglect horses. » The squad found most of the grass in Queens, but even in Brooklyn they dug up plants worth « millions of dollars, » many as « tall as Christmas trees. » Gleason oversaw the fire at the Woodside, Queens facility.  Possession of less than 25 grams (7⁄8 oz) of marijuana, in any form, constitutes illegal possession of marijuana punishable by a fine of up to $100 if the defendant has not been convicted of the crime within the past three years. Those who do so can be fined up to $200. On the third conviction during that period, the maximum penalty increases to $250 with the possibility of a 15-day jail sentence. The offense is considered a felony, the lowest level of offense defined in state law, and therefore does not appear in a criminal record.
 In February 2022, a bill signed by Governor Kathy Hochul legally allowed hemp growers in New York State to begin growing cannabis plants. The Act also promotes justice for minorities and for other related purposes.  CEO Tremaine Wright is leading her first part of a series of « cannabis conversations » in which she answers questions from the public about marijuana legalization. Holland, the cannabis lawyer, thought there were better ways to legalize that would make the most of the legacy market faster. « One option would be to legalize the existing market and everyone buys a license, » he said. Or you would introduce an amnesty program for former operators. « If you created amnesty, you would have a pretty big crisis for a lot of people. » The cannabis plant contains hundreds of compounds, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is a psychoactive compound that makes people feel high. Different forms of cannabis contain different amounts of THC and produce different effects. The more THC a cannabis product contains, the stronger the effect. CBD is one of the compounds in the cannabis plant and a chemical byproduct of industrial hemp. Unlike THC, CBD does not induce a euphoria effect or cause impairment.
People use CBD for a variety of reasons, but there is no solid evidence of its health effects. Some people may experience immediate adverse reactions after taking cannabis. These effects may be due to ingesting a type or amount of cannabis they are not used to, or taking multiple doses in a short period of time. Licensees will enter a market already saturated with unlicensed sellers, including a collection of recently established storefronts across the state. Although then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a cannabis bill in March 2021, many details still need to be worked out before recreational sales can begin. Sam, who has been part of the legacy market for 17 years and runs a delivery service in Brooklyn and Queens, is one of those money winners who have been banned. (Sam is a pseudonym to protect his privacy and business.) He has been arrested several times for cannabis and has served a prison sentence, but cannot meet commercial standards. « If they hadn`t made this requirement, I would have applied with a smile on my face, » he said. He doesn`t see the current model as really fair and thinks everyone should have had a chance.
« I`m just a sitting duck until they give me a chance. » What we know so far is that existing medical operators will be allowed to enter the state`s recreational market if they pay a fee, and they will have an advantage as vertically integrated entities. The law also aims for 50 percent of its licenses to go to social justice seekers, whom it defines as those from communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, minorities, women, small or impoverished farmers, and disabled veterans. As the market prepares to go live, cannabis companies are also scrambling to make money in New York`s legal cannabis market, but illegal cannabis carts and galleries pose a surprising threat. Cannabis CEOs told insiders that gray market operators are already eating their profit margins. On the Lower East Side, I visited a store with marijuana leaf stamps adorning the façade. « This pharmacy is not a speakeasy. or is it. Sorry, » read a sign outside. Then it got to the point in the fine print: « We sell weed. » There, in my opinion, I bought more reliable food and talked at length with the man behind the counter about his plans for the store.
A group of teenagers came in to make a purchase and turned them down – a move I`m not sure he would have taken if I hadn`t been there. (The legal age to purchase is 21.) He seemed optimistic about the prospects of his operation. I did not mention that a competing store showed up within sight, or that trucks selling marijuana appeared in the corners of town. With only 150 initial licenses for the 900 CAURD applications, there have always been more losers than winners, but the winners win relatively big. They get more than just licenses – they also get a place to do business. Those who receive licenses will have access to turnkey storefronts through a $200 million cannabis social justice fund supported by the state and private actors.