For this episode of Cannabis Enlighted, Dr. Leroy interviews Brad Racino, an investigative journalist from the state of New York and now editor and publisher of NY Cannabis Insider. Racino takes us into the weeds of the [il]legal cannabis market in New York.
In 2021, New York passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. The law has yet to be implemented through the governing bodies; however, the law allows for the commercial regulation of recreational cannabis including manufacturing, cultivation and store fronts. According to Racino, New York is experiencing a “gray” period of legal marijuana - possession of the plant or its extracts is legal but not the sale.
Racino: “If you straight up sell to somebody that's illegal. But what all these people are doing is gifting. You know, they're selling you a sticker for 15 bucks or 60 bucks, and then you get [weed] as a gift. We're in this weird zone where I don't feel comfortable calling what they're doing illegal at all because no one like the attorney general in the state of New York will not come out and just say this is legal or this is illegal.”
Racino also enlightens our listeners by claiming, the weed sold in these shops is not grown in New York - the bodegas are selling California branded cannabis.
Dr. Leroy then asks Racino about “legacy” operators - those folks who took a risk during the illegal era of cannabis - will they be allowed to operate under New York law? Currently, New York plans to invest state dollars into what they coined, “Justice Involved People.” Dr. Leroy compares the term to “social equity.”
Justice Involved People can include relatives of folks affected by the War on Drugs. How does it work? For instance, New York will choose, roughly, 200 licenses based on whether the applicant was a Justice Involved Person and then the state will fund the real estate for the operations.
Racino agrees that this sounds amazing on paper, but he also explains some odd provisions that, to him, are a recipe for failure.
Make sure to tune in to this episode to get more insider knowledge on New York. If you’re interested in learning more about New York’s marijuana regulations, visit the state’s regulatory website: https://cannabis.ny.gov/marihuana-regulation-and-taxation-act-mrta