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Cannabis Legalization in New York

I love cannabis. I love almost everything that grows from the earth. In my personal experience, using cannabis with intention, mindfulness, and in the right atmosphere/with the right people has benefited my life in numerous incredible ways. 

For many years, I used cannabis recreationally and without real "reason." I struggled to use marijuana to enhance my health and well-being. Instead, I found myself using marijuana as a mask to avoid my insecurities, lack of self-confidence, and poor eating habits. Which, of course, lead to a decrease in my health and happiness, rather than any improvement. 

It wasn't until I sat in my first ever plant medicine ceremony that I realized that everything from the earth is to be treated as medicine. When used with reason, respect, and intention, even the smallest act, such as rolling a joint and smoking it with friends while the sunsets over the hills, can be treated as a ritual, or ceremony, that brings about meaningful conversation, laughter, and a deep sense of calm. 

Currently, I avoid smoking cannabis as much as I can and instead love to incorporate cannabis into my daily life in the form of CBD/THC oil or vaporization. (My favorite vaporizer is the Volcano) Rather than using cannabis daily, I use it only when I feel it would greatly benefit my mind, body, and spirit. 

Recently, I've loved using cannabis to enhance my exercise/yoga experiences, eliminate headaches (probably from too much screen time) and alleviate PMS cramping and back pain. 

Anyways … back to the blog post. 

As a former New Yorker (born and raised), I am especially excited to share news of New York's legalization for both recreational and medicinal cannabis use. Let's dive in ...

At the end of March 2021, New York joined 16 states and Washington, DC, in legalizing marijuana for adults over 21. Currently, 36 states have legalized medical marijuana, and four more states are set to join this year. Meaning that a majority of Americans have access to marijuana, whether medically or recreationally. (Unfortunately, marijuana is still considered an illegal Schedule I drug by the US federal government.)

The multiple health benefits of marijuana have been well documented, and as a regular cannabis user, I was psyched to see my home state legalize On a recent spring day while visiting my oldest sister in NYC, the city, I saw many people soaking in the warm weather and enjoying cannabis as they would cigarettes while socializing in the park with friends. But what really makes New York's bill unique is the social justice impact it's creating. 

The "war on drugs" and racially biased drug arrests have ravaged minority neighborhoods across the state for decades. A study by the New York City Police Department last year found that 94% of those arrested were Black or Hispanic. This new law will expunge the felony drug records of tens of thousands of people. These records make everything from job hunting to applying for financial aid for college incredibly difficult.

The new law will commit to investing 40% of New York's future marijuana tax revenues in neighborhoods harmed by high rates of drug arrests and provides investment capital to help people of color transition into the legal pot business. New Yorkers can also apply for "social equity" dispensary licenses, reserved for those who can show their business would benefit people and communities hurt by past drug policies. 

In addition to attempts to repair past injustice, state officials predict that New York's legal pot industry will eventually create tens of thousands of jobs and add more than $350 million a year in tax revenue, money that can be invested back into communities that desperately need it. 

Cheers to new opportunities, social justice, and a more mindful approach to cannabis (and all plant medicines) in 2021!

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