A man was captured on video smoking a joint in front of two New York City police officers just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize marijuana in the state.
“Happy quarantine!” the man is heard telling the officers as he tugs on his pot.
The man appeared to be with a group of people when he went to see the officers.
It’s unclear exactly where the incident took place, as while marijuana is legal in New York City, there are several restrictions.
New Yorkers are not allowed to smoke or vape marijuana in locations where smoking is prohibited by state law, including workplaces, indoor bars and restaurants, and within 30 meters of a school.
And stricter local smoking rules apply: in New York City, for example, smoking is prohibited in parks and on the beach.
A man was captured on video smoking a joint in front of two New York City police officers (one pictured in the background) just days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize marijuana in the state
The man appeared to be with a group of people when he went to see the officers (an officer in the photo on the left). It is unclear exactly where the incident took place as although marijuana is legal in New York City, there are several restrictions
Cuomo signed a legalization bill on Wednesday, even allowing New York adults over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana in public. After several years of stalled efforts, the measure makes New York the 16th state to legalize adult use of the drug.
New York is also the second most populous state, after California, to legalize recreational marijuana. Supporters of legalization hope the Empire State will speed up and set an example with its efforts to redress the inequalities of a system that has imprisoned people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.
“By putting community reinvestment, social justice and justice at the center, this law is the new gold standard for reform efforts across the country,” said Melissa Moore, New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
The legislation protects cannabis users at work, in housing, family courts, schools, colleges and universities, and aims to provide half of marijuana licenses to individuals from underrepresented communities. And the police could no longer use the smell of cannabis as a reason to search someone’s car for contraband.
New York will automatically start dropping some previous marijuana-related convictions, and people will not be arrested or prosecuted for possession of weed up to 90 grams. A 2019 law already dropped many previous convictions and reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts.
In a unique facility, New Yorkers 21 and older can now smoke cannabis in public, including on sidewalks. No other state allows it, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the pro-legalization group NORML.
Local governments can enact stricter rules on the use of marijuana, ban pharmacies or cannabis lounges in retail stores, and impose minor civil penalties – as long as they do not ‘completely or substantially’ ban a person from using marijuana legally.
Mackenzie Stevenson, a portrait photographer and dental assistant in central New York, was thrilled with the news. She has a family member with epilepsy who has been greatly helped by medical marijuana.
Cuomo signed a legalization bill on Wednesday, even allowing New York adults over the age of 21 to possess and use marijuana in public. After several years of stalled efforts, the measure makes New York the 16th state to legalize adult use of the drug
“I’ve seen the benefits it has had for her, so I’m excited that more people can benefit from it,” said the 20-year-old.
“Once I’m 21 I’ll be really excited to go out and use it myself,” added Stevenson, who said she’s tried it every now and then.
Law enforcement agencies, parent groups, and many Republican lawmakers were against the new law.
They suggested that legalization would encourage children to use marijuana and, among other things, increase the number of accidents with impaired driving ability.
“For 27 years in the army, I fought drugs every year … What are we going to do here with our children?” Republican State Representative John Lemondes Jr, a retired Army colonel, asked as lawmakers debated Tuesday night.
Proponents of legalization say it is already easy for young adults to get hold of marijuana and there is no clear link between marijuana legalization and road traffic accidents.
Officials plan to study driving, and the law also allows state police to get money to train more officers as “ drug recognition experts, ” although Professor R. Lorraine Collins of the University at Buffalo said there is no evidence that that experts can tell if someone is high.
The trade publication Marijuana Business Daily estimates that New York could become the East Coast’s largest recreational marijuana market – generating potential annual sales of $ 2.3 billion by its fourth year.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said annual tax revenues could eventually reach $ 300 million, although Republicans are skeptical.
California had to save $ 223 million on state budget projections in 2019 due to slower-than-expected pot sales.
After covering the costs of regulation and state enforcement, tax revenues would go to schools, drug treatment and prevention programs, and a fund for investment in labor skills, adult education, mental health, and other services in communities most affected by the national and state. drug war.
The taxes are significant: a 9 percent statewide sales tax, an additional county tax of 4 percent, and a local tax, and another tax based on the THC content, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat and Senate sponsor of the legislation, estimates the total tax rate to be about 20 percent.
The state will provide loans, grants and incubator programs to encourage cannabis entrepreneurs from minority communities, as well as smallholders, women and disabled veterans. Krueger said the state cannot mandate granting 50 percent of the licenses to such applicants as it could be unconstitutional.
Instead, the law sets 50 percent as a “target.”
“ Fifty percent is a very high bar to try to achieve, but if it happens it would be great, ” said Hillary Peckham, chief operator of Etain Health, a New York-based medical cannabis company owned by women and considering creating Apply for a recreational marijuana license.
“The next step is to see how the regulations and program are designed to actually deliver those opportunities,” added Peckham, whose company has four dispensaries across the state.
Social justice has emerged as a major theme in marijuana legalization in recent years, with new legal states trying to build it in and others trying to make up for the lack of diversity in the businesses they had previously approved. But plans haven’t always worked out as intended.
Illinois, for example, was touted for the equity provisions in its 2019 law. But that has drawn criticism and legal action from some black-owned companies that have passed. Illinois has since revised its process to try to address these issues.