New York

Recreational Cannabis use in Rochester metro area and New York

Rochester, New York – When I think or talk about recreational marijuana, California is the first thing that comes to mind. And this is the case with many Americans since California is among the states that legalized recreational marijuana years ago, and many other states have since tried to follow California’s steps. Washington and Colorado were indeed the first U.S. states to legalize the recreational use and sale of cannabis after voters approved ballot measures on Election Day in 2012.

Nineteen other states, Washington, D.C., and Guam would act to legalize the drug in the next 10 years as public support for legalization rose rapidly—despite marijuana being illegal at the federal level. New York is now among the states where recreational use of cannabis is legal, but the whole cannabis thing is rather confusing.

Tax revenue from marijuana and cannabis-related products is everything that leaders aim to achieve by making cannabis legal. And that seems logical since adult-use retailers in California have reported more than $15.56 billion in sales since the 2018 launch, while the total cannabis tax revenue to date is $3.76 billion. The New York cannabis industry is estimated to be worth more than $4 billion, with the potential to become one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

That’s why New York State lawmakers approved a bill late last year that legalized the use and sale of marijuana and cannabis-related products. New York’s market potential is so huge that it can directly positively impact the job market and bring billions of tax dollars into the state budget every year. State lawmakers had been trying for years to introduce legalization bills. Since 2013, all of their attempts have been unsuccessful, but that finally changed last year, and New Yorkers are now allowed to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

Per the current law, individuals age 21 or older are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes. In addition, state agencies are overseeing the process of sale and distribution, and individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses have had their records expunged. Currently, recreational marijuana is legalized statewide, but the licenses needed to legally sell it are still in the process of being issued, and many are left baffled by this situation.

The state, however, gave towns the power to decide on their own whether they would legalize marijuana dispensaries and/or on-site consumption lounges. By the end of last year, town leaders had to decide if they would opt-in or opt-out and they were allowed to legalize one or both. Those who initially opted in were not given the opportunity to change their minds, whereas those who initially opted out were allowed to change their minds in the future. In the Rochester metro area, most of the towns opted-out and this is the list of towns that didn’t legalize marijuana dispensaries or on-site consumption lounges:

  1. Chili (Town)
  2. Churchville (Village)
  3. Clarkson (Town)
  4. Gates (Town)
  5. Greece (Town)
  6. Hamlin (Town)
  7. Hilton (Village)
  8. Mendon (Town)
  9. Ogden (Town)
  10. Parma (Town)
  11. Perinton (Town)
  12. Pittsford (Town)
  13. Pittsford (Village)
  14. Riga (Town)
  15. Scottsville (Village)
  16. Sweden (Town)
  17. Webster (Town)
  18. Webster (Village)

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