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A01248 Summary:

BILL NOA01248A
 
SAME ASSAME AS S00854-A
 
SPONSORPeoples-Stokes
 
COSPNSRGottfried, Lupardo, Walker, Solages, Hunter, Hyndman, Weprin, Pichardo, Rosenthal L, Dinowitz, Jean-Pierre, Abinanti, Richardson, Hevesi, Vanel, Niou, Bichotte Hermelyn, Cahill, Epstein, Quart, Reyes, Dickens, Frontus, Cruz, Darling, Rodriguez, Fernandez, Bronson, De La Rosa, Fall, Carroll, Ramos, Benedetto, Simon, Kim, Aubry, Kelles, Burdick, Anderson, Forrest, Burgos, Gonzalez-Rojas, Gallagher, Clark, Lunsford, Mamdani, Jackson, Meeks, O'Donnell, Zebrowski, Zinerman
 
MLTSPNSRSeawright, Steck, Taylor
 
Amd Various Laws, generally
 
Enacts the "marihuana regulation and taxation act"; establishes the cannabis law; defines terms; establishes the New York state cannabis control board and the office of cannabis management; outlines powers and duties thereof; authorizes the lawful use of medical cannabis; authorizes research programs related thereto; establishes a cannabis research license to permit a licensee to produce, process, purchase and/or possess cannabis for certain limited research purposes; relates to adult-use cannabis; authorizes a person to apply for a license to cultivate, process, distribute, deliver or dispense cannabis for sale in this state; relates to the description of cannabis, and the growing of and use of cannabis by persons twenty-one years of age or older; makes technical changes regarding the definition of cannabis; relates to removing certain references to marijuana relating to forfeiture actions; relates to the qualification of certain offenses involving cannabis; exempts certain persons from prosecution for the use, consumption, display, production or distribution of cannabis; relates to the definition of smoking; provides for the licensure of persons authorized to produce, process and sell marihuana; relates to the criminal sale of cannabis; relates to drug paraphernalia; adds a new article on cannabis to the penal law; authorizes a motion for resentence for persons convicted of certain marihuana offenses; levies an excise tax on certain sales of cannabis; creates the New York state cannabis revenue fund, the New York state drug treatment and public education fund and the New York state community grants reinvestment fund.
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A01248 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A1248A
 
SPONSOR: Peoples-Stokes
  TITLE OF BILL: An act in relation to constituting chapter 7-A of the consolidated laws, in relation to the creation of a new office of cannabis management, as an independent entity within the division of alcoholic beverage control, providing for the licensure of persons authorized to cultivate, process, distribute and sell cannabis and the use of cannabis by persons aged twenty-one or older; to amend the public health law, in relation to the description of cannabis; to amend the penal law, in relation to the growing and use of cannabis by persons twenty-one years of age or older; to amend the tax law, in relation to providing for the levying of taxes on cannabis; to amend the criminal procedure law, the civil practice law and rules, the general business law, the state finance law, the execu- tive law, the penal law, the alcoholic beverage control law, the general obligations law, the social services law, the labor law, the family court act, and the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to making conforming changes; to amend the public health law, in relation to the definition of smoking; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the New York state cannabis revenue fund, the New York state drug treatment and public education fund and the New York state community grants reinvestment fund; to amend chapter 90 of the laws of 2014 amending the public health law, the tax law, the state finance law, the general business law, the penal law and the criminal procedure law relating to medical use of marihuana, in relation to the effectiveness thereof; to amend chapter 174 of the laws of 1968 constituting the urban development corporation act, in relation to loans to social and economic equity applicants, providing increased drug recognition awareness and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement training, directing a study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving, providing for the transfer of employees and functions from the department of health to the office of cannabis management; to repeal certain provisions of the public health law relating to growing of cannabis and medical use of marihuana; to repeal article 221 of the penal law relating to offenses involving mari- huana; to repeal paragraph (f) of subdivision 2 of section 850 of the general business law relating to drug related paraphernalia; and to repeal certain provisions of the penal law relating to making conforming changes   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to establish a new Office of Cannabis Management for the regulation of cannabis, to create a regulated and taxed cannabis industry in New York, and to provide for various social and economic justice initiatives related thereto.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill establishes the title. Section 2 establishes a new Chapter 7-A of the consolidated laws enti- tled "Cannabis Law' as follows: Article 1 of the Cannabis Law provides legislative findings and intent and offers definitions of terms. Arti- cle 2 of the Cannabis Law establishes the Office of Cannabis Management; defines the powers of the cannabis control board, executive director, chief equity officer, and state cannabis advisory board; and establishes rulemaking authority and procedures for the office. Article 3 of the Cannabis Law provides for the regulation of medical cannabis by the Office of Cannabis Management. Article 4 of the Cannabis Law provides for the regulation of adult-use cannabis by the Office of Cannabis Management. Article 5 of the Cannabis Law provides for the regulation of cannabinoid hemp and hemp extract by the Office of Cannabis Management. Article 6 of the Cannabis Law establishes general provisions for the Cannabis Law. Sections 3 through 62-h of the bill amend various sections of law to conform New York State law as it relates to the Cannabis Law and the purposes of this act, including to: * remove marihuana from the schedule of controlled substances; * provide for the lawful possession, use, and personal growth of canna- bis; * expand sealing and expungement opportunities for past marijuana convictions; * establish parameters related to cannabis and probation, parole, and Family Court matters; * provide for the taxation of cannabis; * provide for the distribution of tax revenues, including: * 40% to the community grants reinvestment fund; * 40% to education in order to add to the State's current investment in education; * 20% for mental health services; youth cannabis use prevention; public health campaigns; and drug treatment, prevention, and harm reduction services; and * certain administrative costs to implement this act. * provide for vehicle and traffic, and other public safety measures; * clarify workplace standards and employee/employer rights and protections related to cannabis; * research potential technologies to assist in detecting motorist canna- bis impairment; and * transfer certain functions and employees from various state agencies to the Office of Cannabis Management. Section 63 is the severability clause. Section 64 is the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: New York's marihuana policies are broken, unjust, and outdated. The Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) is based on the recognition that New York's existing marihuana policies have failed to protect the welfare of our communities. Marihuana prohibition has thrust thousands of New Yorkers into the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses, denying many the fundamental right to participate in the demo- cratic process of voting and inhibiting otherwise law-abiding citizens' ability to access housing, student loans, employment opportunities, and other vital services. Additionally, rather than curtailing youth-mari- huana usage, existing marihuana laws have led to an illicit market that has done little to address marihuana usage by minors. Existing marihuana laws have led to costly overuse of law enforcement resources and in some instances discriminatory police practices that have perpetuated systematic racism and discrimination increasing the prison population with non-violent offenders. Over the past two decades, New York has become the marihuana arrest capital of the country, with nearly 800,000 marihuana arrests and summons. These arrests dispropor- tionately impact the lives of African-American and Latinx communities. Black and Brown New Yorkers are swept into the criminal justice system for marihuana use while white New Yorkers have generally been evaded prosecution While government studies show that whites of all ages use marihuana at the same rate as People of Color, a stark difference in arrest rates remains. Across New York City, African-Americans are arrested on low-level marihuana charges at eight times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people and Latinxs are arrested at five times the rate of whites. Thus, one of the largest drivers of racial disparity in criminalization and incarceration rates is the inequity of how the law is applied in marihuana arrests. The intent of this act is to regulate, control, and tax cannabis. The MRTA will generate millions of dollars in new revenue, prevent access to marihuana by those under the age of twenty-one, reduce the illegal drug market and violent crime, help transition otherwise law-abiding citizens engaged in the Legacy market to the legal market, and create new indus- tries and increase employment. With the enactment of the MRTA, the New York State Legislature has an opportunity to end the racially disparate impact of existing marihuana policies and their enforcement. Sixty million Americans now live in states where adult-use cannabis is legal. Nationwide, public perception of cannabis is growing more favora- ble, with 6l% of the population supporting legalization. In NYC fatal drug overdoses are now four times more common than homicides. The New York Department of Health concluded that marihuana is a far safer pain reliever than opioids, and reduces the risk of fatal overdoses that are prevalent across the state and country. In states that have legalized cannabis, opioid overdose rates were 25% lower compared with states with no legal access to cannabis. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans also view cannabis as being safer than opioids in the management of pain. There are roughly 1.5 million regular cannabis users -in New York, half of whom live in New York City. In May of 2018, NYC Comptroller Stringer released a report which estimates a $3.1 billion adult-use cannabis market for New York State, with $1.1 billion just in New York City. With the enactment of the MRTA New York State could realize a projected $436 million in tax revenue, while New York City could accrue an additional $336 million in tax revenue. The need to repair the harms wrought on communities of color by the war on drugs requires a definitive frame- work, in statute, for reinvestment. This legislation directs 50% of the tax revenue to establish the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, aimed at giving back to the communities that have been the most disproportion- ately affected by current marihuana laws. States across the country that have recently legalized marihuana, from Massachusetts to Alaska, are reinvesting in programs that offer people a new start through community re-entry programs, schools, job development, drug treatment, and legal services. New York has the opportunity to become a leading example in sustainable reinvestment with this explicitly dedicated revenue percent- age and type of fund.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019-2020: A.1617C/S.1527C 2017-2018: A.3506C/S.3040C 2015-2016: A.3089A/S.1747 2013-2014: A.8341/S.6005   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: The increase of revenue for state and local governments will be deter- mined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that sections six and six-a of this act shall take effect six months after the full cannabis control board created by article two of the cannabis law has been appointed and provided that the governor shall notify the legisla- tive bill drafting commission upon such full appointment in order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws of the state of New York in furtherance of effectuating the provisions of section 44 of the legislative law and section 70-b of the public officers law; provided, further that the expungement of marihuana convictions under section 160.50 of the crimi- nal procedure law, added by the amendment in section seventeen of this act, shall occur promptly and in any event no later than two years after the effective date of this act; the amendments to article 20-B of the tax law made by sections thirty-four, thirty-seven and thirty-eight of this act shall not affect the repeal of such article and shall be deemed repealed therewith; and provided, further, that sections thirty nine and forty of this act shall take effect April 1, 2022, and shall apply on and after such date to the sale or transfer of adult-use cannabis products to a retail dispensary; provided, further, that the amendments to article 179 of the penal law made by section forty-seven of this act shall not affect the repeal of such article and shall be deemed to be repealed therewith; provided, further, that the amendments to section 89-h of the state finance law made by section fifty of this act shall not affect the repeal of such section and shall be deemed repealed 03/27/21 255 65156-02-1 therewith; provided, further, that the amend- ments to subdivision 3 of section 853 of the general business law made by section fifty-six-a of this act shall not affect the repeal of such section and shall be deemed repealed therewith; and provided, further, that the amendments to subdivision 2 of section 3371 of the public health law made by section fifty-six-b of this act shall not affect the expiration of such subdivision and shall be deemed to expire therewith.
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