New York To Legalize Marijuana?

Legal cannabis could be coming to New York soon. Elected officials are hashing out details of a bill that would legalize the cultivation, sale, possession and consumption of marijuana for adults and licensed businesses. Legalization in NY is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

New York could soon join Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts and the growing list of states which have ended their prohibition on cannabis by regulating its sale and distribution while generating significant tax revenue. As the clock ticks closer to the end of the 2019 session, cannabis users and entrepreneurs in New York eagerly await the legislator’s decision regarding a bill that would legalize marijuana statewide. Additionally, the measure could provide those with non-violent marijuana offences a fresh start by wiping such crimes from their record.

New York To Legalize Marijuana? - Credit: Dispensary Genie
New York To Legalize Marijuana? – Credit: Dispensary Genie

Fine Print

Officials are still hammering out details of the legal cannabis initiative with just days left to do so. The major issues at hand pertain to local rights, personal cultivation and tax revenue. There is much conversation surrounding the ability for localities to individually opt-in for recreational cannabis sales in their communities when/if they feel appropriate as opposed to the opt-out system used by other states. It is also reported that the growing cannabis at home for personal use is hotly contested.  As of yet, it is unclear how the influx tax dollars (potentially hundreds of millions) would be allocated.

A Preview of Legalization

Many wonder what New York marijuana legalization would look like once passed. The current bill contains language to thwart major commercial interests (‘big marijuana’) from monopolizing the industry. One such measure would be to ban vertical integration of cannabis operations. Vertical integration is sometimes referred to as ‘seed to sale’ because one company controls the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail aspects of their product. While some legal cannabis states require vertical integration to help ensure accountability and product safety, New York officials feel this approach could create barriers for small businesses. As a consumer, lack of vertical integration means a more diverse selection on the shelves and menus of your local dispensary – with products from a variety of producers instead of just one. There is even some discussion about possible locations for public consumption venues (cafes).

Current Cannabis Concerns

Though New York City and the state are home to one of the biggest cannabis markets in the world; using, selling, cultivating and transporting the substance still bears significant legal consequences for most residents. Possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis has been decriminalized since 1977 but loopholes (mainly involving public view) have kept arrest rates high. New York’s medical cannabis program has been a step in the right direction but is not a viable solution for most residents. The estimated cannabis consuming population in NYC alone is well over 650,000 people and the entire state has only 59,000 registered medical marijuana patients – leaving more than half a million users vulnerable to the legal and health risks associated with the black market. Until a decision is reached on the current cannabis legalization bill in New York, even responsible adult users face prosecution, fines and jail-time each time they light up.

Stay Up To Date

Check Dispensary Genie regularly for more information on the legalization of marijuana in New York as it becomes available. Existing and prospective medical cannabis patients in New York are also invited to explore our pages covering existing dispensaries.

New York Dispensaries Open Now

Vireo Health dispensary of White Plains

Etain dispensary of Yonkers

Columbia Care dispensary of Riverhead

Remedy dispensary of Bardonia

PharmaCannis dispensary of The Bronx

Etain dispensary of New York City

Columbia Care dispensary of Manhattan

Curaleaf dispensary of Queens

MedMen’s dispensary of Manhattan

The Botanist dispensary of Queens

Citiva dispensary of Brooklyn

Fp Wellness’ Manhattan Dispensary

Before You Go

At this time, in New York, marijuana can only be sold to medical card holding residents. For more information about how to obtain a medical marijuana card in New York, please visit the New York State Department of Health’s official medical marijuana page for patients. If you have specific questions for the state regarding cannabis,  you can email them at, call 1(844) 863-9312 or check their list of answers to frequently asked questions.