Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in New York


Last Friday, the New York State Department of Health recommended the state legalize the use of recreational marijuana.

This would mean a new area of law for attorneys in New York who have not yet practiced in this emerging industry.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo commissioned the report this month that found, “the positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts.” Among the positive effects? Lowered marijuana-related arrests in low-income neighborhoods. In 2017, 86% of those arrested for marijuana possession in New York were people of color, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

New York state expects the sales tax revenue to range between $248.1 million to $677.7 million each year, creating an opportunity for residents to start their own marijuana businesses. However, it’s not as easy as one might think, at least from a legal standpoint, said Daniel Shortt, a cannabis attorney with Harris Bricken. Attorneys will need to seek some sort of ethics guidance on working with marijuana clients.

Harris Bricken has plenty of experience dealing with the legal marijuana industry. Partner at the Seattle firm is Hilary Bricken, who has earned a reputation as a fearless advocate for local businesses. Hilary will be speaking at our Recreational and Medical Marijuana Law and Business in California conference on November 1 and 2, 2018. Over the course of two days we’ll go in-depth into a variety of issues in this burgeoning industry for attorneys, investors and business operators.

For those who serve clients in the cannabis industry and those attorneys who want to move into this space, our program will help you navigate the rules, regulations, and legal ramifications of legalized marijuana in California (and federal issues affecting the state’s cannabis industry as well). For investors and business people in the market – or thinking about entering the market – what do you need to know? What are the difficulties businesses face – from retail to growing and distribution?

By the end of our conference you will be well-versed in most of the critical legal, business, and investment-related aspects of this rapidly expanding industry.

Katie Freeman

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