Marijuana is legal in New York state. Here’s what that means for you.
Marijuana is legal in New York state. Here's what that means for you.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in New York state, but don’t get too excited. Residents won’t be able to buy or sell marijuana legally for a year or even two. Growing plants at home also won’t be allowed for at least several months.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law on April 30, immediately legalizing cannabis products for adults 21 and older and setting the stage for an industry that could be worth $4.2 billion. The 128-page bill leaves many decisions on regulating the marijuana industry in New York state up to the newly created Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board.
New York is the 15th state, along with Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana for recreational use. As advocates and experts are making sense of the complicated legislation, here’s what you need to know about marijuana in New York.
Where is weed allowed?
New Yorkers can now legally possess and use up to three ounces of marijuana for recreational use and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis. While up to five pounds of marijuana can be kept at home if secured properly, home cultivation is not currently allowed. It’s legal to smoke marijuana anywhere in public wherever tobacco smoking is allowed but not inside cars, schools or workplaces.
The state’s new Cannabis Control Board, as well as individual municipalities, may create additional restrictions on smoking marijuana.
Syracuse University currently bans the possession, use and distribution of alcohol and illegal drugs on campus. This policy will continue despite New York’s marijuana legalization, said Dean of Students Marianne Thomson in a campus-wide email Monday. University policy also prohibits the possession or use of medical marijuana on campus, she said. The Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 mandates that universities receiving federal funding must have a marijuana use policy, as the drug is still illegal under federal law.
“I hate to say it, but I’m afraid there will still have to be that hiding out in secrecy,” said Dessa Bergen-Cico, an SU professor of drug policy and addiction studies.
Bergen-Cico doesn’t expect legalization to have a significant impact on college students’ behavior given that the legal age is 21 and universities will continue to prohibit drug use.
A 2019-20 survey from The NewsHouse’s High Stakes project found that New York college students overwhelmingly supported legalization. Most students anticipated few negative consequences of legalization on academic performance, mental health or physical health.