New York Bill Would Mandate Community Investment Plans by Multi-State Cannabis Operators

A new bill in New York would require multi-state cannabis operators to have a plan to invest in communities disproportionally affected by the war on drugs.

Full story after the jump.

A bill set to be introduced this week in New York would require multi-state cannabis operators in the state to create a plan to reinvest in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. The measure, the Cannabis Community Reinvestment Act, is backed by the National Cannabis Party.

The legislation is sponsored by Democratic state Sen. James Sanders Jr. who said the proposal “will ensure that companies that profit the most from the legalization of cannabis will contribute part of their profits back into the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs.”

“The War on Drugs unleashed severe damage and ruined many lives–particularly in communities of color.” – Sanders Jr. in a statement

Sephida Artis-Mills, president & co-founder of the National Cannabis Party, said in a statement that “the power belongs to the people, and so does the plant.”

“To control the way people choose their medicine, and overall wellness, is a civil rights issue we need to address,” she said.

The bill is set to be unveiled on Thursday.

New York lawmakers legalized cannabis for adults last year and in March, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced the Seeding Opportunity Initiative which will give the state’s first adult-use retail licenses to individuals with prior cannabis-related offenses. While the state has not yet issued any adult-use licenses, the governor’s office said that the initiative, paired with a recently approved bill allowing the state’s hemp farmers to grow cannabis for the adult-use market, could make sales possible in the state before the end of the year. The initiative includes conditional adult-use dispensary licenses for social-equity applicants and those conditional licenses for hemp farmers, in addition to the $200 million social equity investment program outlined by Hochul in her 2023 Executive Budget.

The end-of-the-year start date was an unexpected announcement as Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright has previously indicated that adult-use cannabis licenses would not be issued until at least the spring of 2023. According to the governor’s office, applications for the priority licenses will open in the summer and the first licenses are expected to be distributed by late summer or early fall.

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