Marijuana legalization in NY: Now that it’s official, what can you really do?

New York State

NEW YORK CITY (PIX11)— Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Wednesday, legalizing adult-use of marijuana.

But creating a system to get marijuana sales up and running statewide will take some time. Here’s what you can do now that the law is passed:

Use

People 21 and older can use, smoke, ingest or otherwise consume marijuana and other related products.

It’s still illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of marijuana.

Possession

New York has eliminated penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis for those 21 and older, with a greater quantity allowed to be stored at home in a secured place. The bill also automatically expunged records of people with past convictions for marijuana-related offenses that would no longer be criminalized (court offices have up to two years to make sure this process is completed). That’s a step beyond a 2019 law that expunged many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts.

The legislation took effect immediately upon the bill’s signing, though sales will not start immediately.

Sales

Legal buying and selling of recreational marijuana will take a while as New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated Friday it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.

The governor’s office will begin setting up a brand new agency called the Office of Cannabis Management. The agency will establish guidelines and issue licenses for marijuana farming, processing, distribution, dispensaries and even retail consumption sites.

Penalties still apply for people selling illegally, without a license. You can give cannabis products to others who meet the legal requirements, though.

You can’t use marijuana products at dispensaries, except for designated consumption sites (think cigar lounge).

Home growing

Patients looking to grow medical marijuana at home can do so six months after the bill is enacted.

Those planning to grow recreational marijuana can do so 18 months after the opening of the first dispensary, so as to allow the commercial sale of cannabis products to get set up.

New Yorkers can grow up to six plants at home and up to 12 plants per household.

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