It’s been over a year and a half since recreational weed was officially legalized in New York and there are still lots of things being ironed out and regulations being written, but here’s where we stand as of summer 2022:
Who Can Use It and How Much Can They Possess?
Lawmakers wrote in a few good provisions that were implemented the moment the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law (back in 2021). It allows adults over 21 to possess up to three ounces of flower (or 24 grams of concentrates like vape oil) and permits consumption in the home and public places not subject to smoking prohibitions: basically, anywhere cigarettes are prohibited, so are blunts. Eventually, adults 21 and over will be allowed to store up to five pounds at their homes, once home cultivation is permitted.
Who Can Grow It?
For home cultivation, adults 21 and over will be allowed to grow 6 plants each, with a maximum of 12 per household, but they have to wait until the Office of Cannabis Management issues those regulations, which according to law, “must be no later than 18 months after the first adult-use retail sale.” Since those sales are slated for late 2022 to early 2023, it’s highly likely that home cultivation will be permissible by next spring. Officials are presumably rolling out the program like this to ensure the market isn’t flooded by homegrown cannabis before retail sales even start. There is an easy workaround, however, for the green thumb-anxious: adults 21 and over with a medical weed card can grow at their homes as of right now, as long as they stay within the limits stated above. For commercial cultivation, the state has issued over 200 licenses so far to New York farmers, with the hope that these agricultural experts produce enough good quality cannabis to keep the dispensaries fully stocked.
When Can You Buy It In Stores & What Products Will Be Offered
Officials claim dispensaries are expected to open towards the end of the year, which is very ambitious since no licenses have been issued yet, so it’s more likely to happen in early 2023. The state-licensed venues will allow consumers to purchase cannabis in the form of flowers, concentrates, edibles, beverages, and other fun weed-infused products, but they must be consumed off premises. In future, the state plans to give out licenses for Amsterdam-like coffee shops, where consumers can buy and smoke weed all under one roof, but they’re still figuring that out. The current plans call for the opening of about 150 dispensaries statewide, with 85 of those servicing New York City, Long Island, and Westchester. As part of New York’s social justice provision, the first batch of dispensary licenses will go to those persons who have been directly impacted by the drug war. Any current medical cannabis companies will have to sit this round out before they can apply for recreational licenses.