New bill proposes additions to fairness category of cannabis law

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ALBANY – In the latest attempt by lawmakers to preemptively refine the cannabis licensing process in New York City, State Senator Jeremy Cooney, D-Rochester, introduced a bill that, s ‘passed, would ensure that equity benefits extend to people who identify as transgender and non-binary.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which was enacted last spring, includes a provision that sets a target for the newly formed Cannabis Control Board to award 50 percent of adult cannabis licenses in New York City to “equity seekers” and provide additional support to those applicants.

The equity category is designed to promote racial, ethnic and gender diversity, according to the MRTA. It specifically mentions that equity contenders will include people who have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition as well as minority or female-owned businesses, distressed farmers and disabled veterans.

The law does not specify whether members of transgender and non-binary communities will be considered in the priority category. Cooney’s bill would amend the law to make their inclusion explicit.

“The current guidelines unfairly force people who have transitioned or non-binary New Yorkers to choose between their identity and the possibility of obtaining equity benefits,” according to a press release from Cooney’s office.

The state’s advocacy group, Equality New York, is one of the affinity groups supporting the legislation.

“We applaud Senator Cooney for bringing forward legislation that will ensure the transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary (TGNCNB) community is included in the social and economic equity plan,” said the group’s executive director, Amanda Babine, in a statement. .

The Office of Cannabis Management and its supervisory board have publicly announced several updates since October on the state’s medical cannabis and cannabinoid hemp programs, as well as informing the public of an impending educational campaign and the ongoing suppression of criminal charges related to marijuana.

There are still many unknown details about the upcoming adult licensing regulations and restrictions, although some companies have opted to preemptively invest in infrastructure and a growing number of municipalities are refusing to allow. local cannabis retailers to set up, before their December 31 deadline.


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