New York Lawmakers Include LGBT Protections in New Cannabis Law

A New York lawmaker put forth a measure to make it lawful that lesbian, gay, and bisexual citizens can qualify as social equity applicants thanks to New York’s new cannabis law.

Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-NY) debuted the bill last week, momentarily after filing a separate law to include transgender and non-binary citizens in the cannabis social equity agenda. Senator Cooney is also behind additional cannabis reform proposals associated with cannabis business tax benefits and retail licensing.

Earlier this Spring, New York legalized cannabis. Adults are now able to own and publicly toke cannabis, but lawmakers are still working to implement retail cannabis sales in New York. In the meantime, Sen. Cooney is looking to guarantee that the social equity guidelines are even more encompassing.

“I am proud to debut a law to include constituents of our gay, lesbian, and bisexual neighborhoods for preference licensure in the latest adult-use recreational cannabis market,” the senator of New York expressed to a reputable cannabis multimedia outlet. “When the state legalized adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes, we made it a responsibility to address the discrimination and injustice caused by the problematic War on Drugs.”

“Social justice and social equity are ingrained in the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act and the decree is designed to uplift historically disproportionate groups via economic opportunities in the cannabis industry,” he expressed in another interview. “We are set on working to guarantee that we are meeting our social equity cannabis licensing objectives so that New York creates the most encompassing cannabis economy in the country.”

Under the state’s legalization bill, at least 50 percent of cannabis business licenses must be distributed to social equity applicants. At the time of this article, as passed earlier this Spring, that category encompasses citizens “from areas disproportionately affected by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition,” minority- and women-owned enterprises, farmers going through tough times, and service-disabled military veterans.

“New York has recognized that prejudice on the basis on sexual preference is a violation of human rights measures everywhere,” the justification section of the law states. “The social equity portion of the MRTA is designed to give a hand to historically marginalized sets via economic opportunities in the cannabis industry and this measure promotes those same efforts.”

The bill has been referred to the New York Senate Rules Committee for review.

Ironically, the initial licensed recreational cannabis retailers in New York may be located on Indian land, with a particular tribe officially opening applications for prospective retail cannabis licensees earlier this Fall.

Earlier this Summer, Senator Cooney filed a measure to create provisional cannabis licensing classifications so that farmers could begin growing and selling cannabis ahead of the scheduled debut of the adult-use program. The suggestion has also been referred to the New York Senate Rules Committee for examination.

Due to the execution process has been drawn out yet, one GOP senator wants to grant local jurisdictions another year to choose whether they will opt-out of permitting cannabis businesses to function in their communities—a proposal that cannabis reform promoters state is unnecessary and would create disproportionate issues for the cannabis industry in New York.

Senator Cooney (D-NY)  is also backing a newly filed law to allow licensed cannabis enterprises to deduct certain business costs on their New York tax returns.

At a recent function, the Governor of New York explained that she had immediately made regulatory arrangements that had been postponed under her prototype. “I believe there’s thousands and thousands of positions” that could be made in the new cannabis industry, the governor expressed.

During the month of November, New York lawmakers also authorized regulations for the state’s cannabinoid industrial hemp program, notably explaining that flowers from the crop can be exchanged, but delta-8 THC products are illegal from being marked for retail.

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