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New York Passes Recreational Cannabis Law

In 2021, New York State Heading Towards Legalizing Recreational Marijuana |  Yonkers Times

Article by: Jennifer L. Mora, Adam R. Young, Robert T. Szyba, and Daniel R. Birnbaum of

April 2nd 2021

Seyfarth Synopsis: New York has become the latest state to enact a law protecting the use of personal nonmedical cannabis for individuals age 21 and over.  As one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets, New York will eliminate the criminalization of possession of less than three ounces of cannabis and significantly expand the list of medical conditions that qualify for medical cannabis use under the state’s current law.  While the new law is not immediately in effect, New York employers should proceed to review their current policies and drug testing practices to ensure compliance with New York’s law.

On March 30, 2021, New York’s legislature approved “The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act,” a bill legalizing the sale and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, which was subsequently signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.  New York’s actions come about one month after its neighbor, New Jersey, passed a similar law decriminalizing cannabis use. Under the law, New Yorkers may possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use.  Cannabis use will be allowed in public wherever smoking tobacco is legal, but, as discussed below, will not be permitted in workplaces or inside a car.  The new law has not changed the requirement that citizens cannot drive under the influence of cannabis.