Cookies with cannabis

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Marijuana was first restricted in New York during the Prohibition Era in 1914. How do Americans overcome a century of illegality? When it comes to citizen viewpoints on legal marijuana usage, it is as easy as a 191-page legislative act to make it happen in New York. Here is everything you need to know about how marijuana legislation is taking New York by storm as well as how product accessibility like Ministry of Hemp CBD Gummies is leading to widespread change.

Legal Changes

While prohibition set the stage for a century of legal precedents, social views on marijuana usage stayed consistent. Mayors like to use “White Wing Squads” to police the neighborhoods and seize plants and destroy them. By the mid-fifties, a great debate was placed on consequential usage as opponents of legalizations pushed gateway theories. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, in 1939, formed a committee to determine if marijuana led to juvenile delinquency, prevalent addiction and a gateway from childhood exposure. For the most part, drug laws were upheld.

In 1973, Governor Nelson Rockefeller rewrote drug laws that classified marijuana, along with morphine, cocaine, heroin and opium and set minimum incarceration guidelines at 15 to 25 years. After hundreds of thousands of low-level, nonviolent arrests, the law was amended by decriminalizing marijuana possession under four grams in 1977 but did not stop incarceration rates. By 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the overwhelming social discord of countless citizens who were arrested and incarcerated long-term for misdemeanor offenses.

Action & Reaction

Cuomo first addressed a major issue with the law in 2012 that allowed police officers to stop-and-frisk and then arrest anyone who had marijuana in public view. It was a way to get around the legalities after officers retrieved it from pockets, purses or backpacks. It did little to stop low-level marijuana arrests, which led to a greater response from marijuana proponents that more must be done to protect rights. In 2014, Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act as a legal means of supporting those privileges because of medicinal breakthroughs of marijuana.

Now, Cuomo has ambitions that include adding New York to the official list with 10 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage. Unlike New York’s history, Cuomo has a good shot since many New York city and state officials also support its legalization and have even gone as far as to promote the idea by producing official reports and holding citizen participation sessions to gauge the public’s interest of a legislative bill. Moreover, the legalization of recreational marijuana would address criminal justice and economic policies.

Recreational Use on the Agenda

While there is greater support at recreational usage, assembly members believe the budget will play a factor because of the negotiation process and spending bill that must be completed by April 1. New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie addressed the conflict on Twitter by saying six weeks was not a feasible timeline for such a legal undertaking but that they were committed to its passing. While there is truth in his words about the complexities of it, there are corporate and mom-and-pop shops waiting also to implement new policy and procedures for this emerging marketplace.

While Cuomo is consistent in pushing for an April 1 time frame completion, other Assembly leaders like Crystal Peoples-Stokes agree with Heastie that it will be difficult to meet it as legislation is only halfway completed. Voters, however, have a different take on their actions in that votes speak volumes, and inefficient responses sink reelection bids. Every politician in New York is quite aware as this is a referendum that has been building for a century. Citizens are tired of waiting, and politicians understand they have a limited time to respond or get replaced.

How popular is this movement? According to recent polls, New York citizens favor legalization by a two-to-one ratio, which has not been lost on these politicians. The polls have also found that support for recreational use extends across all gender, class, religious and racial demographics, which has not gone unnoticed in Washington, D.C. United States Senator Charles Schumer also produced a similar Congressional bill to decriminalize it federally. As more states adopt similar laws locally, the pressure builds federally for an overhaul to marijuana laws that have mandatory sentencing. Cuomo also went on record that the industry must support those who paid the high price legally.

A Financial Boon for New York State

How will the availability of new product and services affect New York? Cuomo stated during his last state address that legalized marijuana for the 21-and-older crowd projects to a minimum of $80 million in revenue by 2021 and $300 million by 2023. Cuomo also noted that minority neighborhoods that have been damaged by the broken window theory policing tactics would now have an economic opportunity because of the expansion of the legal marijuana industry. Cuomo also went on record that the industry must support those who paid the price legally.

The New York State Health Department has also come out in full support of legalization after a six-month study found that the benefits of marijuana offset the risk and that an older policy would not impact smoking rates. The 71-page statement swayed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to reverse his silence on the measure and came out publicly backing the statewide policy. The New York state health officials also noted that legal protection would additionally reduce racial injustice which has been a key value that supporters promoted in their push nationally for the right to consume freely.

Aside from the policymaker’s focus on the economic impact of the marijuana industry, there are also countless researchers, doctors and scientists to point to how product availability has a direct influence on patients’ lives. Americans overwhelmingly support products like cannabidiol oil to relieve conditions like depression, anxiety and insomnia. There is also the support of marijuana usage for severe conditions like epilepsy which has led the charge forward on the benefits of legalized marijuana product accessibility without state and federal criminalization practices.

While medical use is legal in New York, patients receive limited accessibility for only 12 conditions and have only 21 dispensary options in the state to fill prescriptions. Users must register at a local health department, so the passing of legal recreation will change everything.