NY to limit marijuana retail licenses to those previously convicted of marijuana-related charges

Officials in New York State have announced a plan to limit eligibility for potentially lucrative marijuana shop licenses to individuals who have been convicted of marijuana-related charges. The Cannabis Control Board is expected to adopt draft regulations that would limit eligibility to operators with at least one marijuana conviction, or people immediately related to someone arrested for marijuana before its legalization.

The proposal states, “If the applicant is an individual, or an entity with one or more individuals, at least one individual must be justice involved.” The draft explains, “‘Justice involved’ includes anyone convicted of a marijuana-related charge or anyone that “had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent who was convicted,” or “was a dependent of an individual who was convicted of a [marijuana]-related offense.”

Additionally, the draft makes non-profit organizations eligible for the permits if they “serve justice involved individuals and communities with historically high rates of arrest, conviction, incarceration or other indicators of law enforcement activity for [marijuana]-related offenses” or have a record of assisting or employing “justice involved” residents.

Executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance Kassandra Frederique applauded the proposal saying, “The people that have fought for this change have been the people in New York that have been criminalized by the law, who have had their communities surveilled and punished.”

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