Prospects Of New York Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Decrease Due to Coronavirus
According to the latest reports, the prospects for New York legalizing marijuana this year are dim now due to the presence of the all-encompassing coronavirus, as legislators have indicated that their priorities are on containing the virus and, as a result, cannabis reform may very well need to take a backseat. However, if marijuana is left out of the pending budget bill, it remains to be seen as to whether legislators may address it through their own standalone bill. Reportedly, legislation has been drafted by New York Senator Krueger, which would allow anyone age 21 or older to purchase marijuana from licensed retailers and would include a recreational home grow option as well.
Many Will Still Be Locked Up for Marijuana Crimes & Cannot Have Records Expunged Due to Limitations of Current State Laws
Still, this sudden hurdle is frustrating given that, although New York did clear records for previous low-level convictions and reduced penalties for possessing less than two ounces, it is important to remember that hundreds of thousands of people will still be locked up in the criminal justice system every year for marijuana charges because New York’s marijuana decriminalization law only covers the possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. In addition, pot offenses attached to more serious crimes – such as gun or violence charges – do not stand a chance of qualifying for expungement, which means that all of these individuals will still find it difficult-to-impossible to find employment, attend school, find housing, and achieve other dreams after they have served their time.
Medical Marijuana Demand Could Increase
As marijuana advocates point out, medical marijuana patients also not only need continuous access to their medicine, but, depending upon the effects of the virus, it may be more important than ever to ensure that New Yorkers have access to medical cannabis dispensaries in case the virus results in even more patients needing access to medical marijuana for the first time. According to the latest reports, legal marijuana sales are up nationally as people panic over the coronavirus pandemic; potentially because according to scientific studies, marijuana has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. As a result, New York City has labeled legal marijuana businesses as “essential,” allowing them to remain open in spite of other businesses being on lockdown due to the virus.
If You Have Questions or Concerns About Marijuana Charges In New York, Or Are Facing Charges, Contact Our New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have questions about or have been charged with a drug crime here in New York, or a more serious crime, such as assault, contact experienced New York criminal defense attorney Phillip J. Murphy for a free consultation to find out how we can provide you with the very best in legal advice and representation.