Policy Recommendations New York

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for New York

Lawmakers failing to reach a deal on a full-scale adult-use legislative package acknowledged the shortcomings of the state's medical system and pledged to work on system improvements in 2020, leaving the state's system largely as is. The state did approve legislation in 2020 that makes possession of marijuana a violation punishable by a fine of no more than $50. The bill also eliminates a provision for a repeat offender that previously would have subjected possession law violators to a fine of up to $250 and 15 days in jail. Finally, the measure requires that past arrest records for possession of cannabis be expunged or destroyed, and prohibits those records from use to deny employment.

The Empire State organized specific medical cannabis provisions in the state's response to COVID, which included maintaining operations of licensed medical cannabis businesses, provision of pre ordering and curbside pickup and delivery, and permission for patients to utilize telehealth for physician evaluations related to state program enrollment.