Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester) announced Wednesday a package of two cannabis bills designed to lay additional groundwork for the future of legalized cannabis in New York State.
Senate Bill S.9217 would permit New Yorkers to cultivate cannabis in licensed personal cultivation facilities. Current regulations allow for personal cultivation eighteen months after the first adult-use sales commence. However, the plants must be grown at the individual’s personal residence.
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These guidelines would exclude those without sufficient open space, especially renters/tenants. This bill would authorize the Cannabis Control Board to make regulations allowing for personal cultivation in specified licensed facilities open to adult use. This will ensure individuals who do not have a residence that is suitable for personal cultivation, such as most renters and individuals living in urban communities, still have the opportunity to utilize personal cultivation in a safe and controlled setting. This is about achieving equity in the home grow process.
Senate Bill S.9218 would allow certified medical cannabis patients from other states to access NYS medical dispensaries provided they present sufficient documentation. States such as Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri already allow for reciprocity with other states’ medical cannabis programs. New York is one of the most visited states by domestic travelers in the country, and these visitors should continue to have access to medical cannabis products throughout their stay.
“I am proud to introduce legislation that will further support the fast-growing New York cannabis industry. Since the passing of the MRTA last year, the Office of Cannabis Management has made necessary reforms to the medical cannabis program and this legislation will continue that effort by expanding access to medical cannabis for medical patients in-and-outside of New York,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney.
“Although the legal ability to personally cultivate cannabis is several months away, we must be proactive in reducing the barriers to participate, especially for New Yorkers in urban areas who are most likely to be excluded from home grow. Renters and individuals who are unable to cultivate cannabis in their homes should still have the option guaranteed to them in the MRTA.”
The New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association added, “The New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association applauds Senator’s Cooney’s efforts to expand the accessibility of New York’s personal cultivation program through a bill that would allow community gardens, which if passed, will be another crucial component of achieving the vision set out by the MRTA. Renters and individuals residing in New York’s urban areas, many of the same areas most negatively affected by prohibition and the war on drugs, should have equal ability to participate in personal cultivation and enjoy the full spectrum of benefits and opportunity that legalization and the creation of an adult-use market brings to the table.
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“New York State continues to forge a path to establishing a truly accessible and equitable cannabis industry, but we must continue to be mindful of where improvements can be made and pursue legislation that is reflective of our goals.”
Finally, the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association commented, “The NYMCIA strongly supports S.9218, which will improve New York’s anemic medical cannabis program by increasing patient access and affordability. Smokable products, and whole flower, are often the most effective, most affordable, and most popular types of medicine for sick patients. New York’s medical cannabis program needs common-sense policy reforms and we urge the Legislature to pass S.9218 without hesitation.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.