With lawmakers in New York thinking about legalizing recreational weed, many in the state are starting to plan for the future. Specifically, people are beginning to talk about who the state might license to sell recreational marijuana. Most recently, a group of bodega owners rallied in New York City for the right to be among the state’s licensed retailers.
Bodega Owners Want to Sell Weed
Over the weekend, bodega owners rallied in the Bronx. The point of the action was to call for the right to sell recreational weed if New York ends up legalizing.
According to local news reports, bodega owners at the rally pointed out a couple key reasons why they think they should be allowed to sell legal weed.
For starters, bodegas are already heavily regulated by New York City and New York state. Presumably, having a regulatory framework already in place could make it particularly easy to move into a highly-regulated legal weed market.
Additionally, the shop owners said that allowing bodegas to sell legal weed could help benefit communities that suffer the most under anti-cannabis laws.
Critics of the war on drugs have long shown that poor communities, and especially communities of color, are disproportionately targeted by drug laws. And that holds true of cannabis laws.
More and more, advocates are conscious of this when it comes to legalizing weed. Specifically, many advocates say that legal weed must benefit those who suffer the most from prohibition laws.
And according to bodega owners, letting them be part of the legal weed market would help with that. Specifically, licensing bodegas to sell weed could help ensure that money from legal weed stays in small-scale, local businesses, many of which operate in lower-income neighborhoods.
In the aftermath of the rally, bodega owners now hope to start talking with lawmakers. In particular, the group wants to begin talks with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Moving Toward Legalization
This is the latest development in New York’s move toward legalization. Recently, the possibility of legalizing recreational weed in the state has picked up a lot of steam.
Toward the beginning of the year, Gov. Cuomo talked about legalization while outlining his newest budget proposal. Interestingly, he listed legalizing weed as his third-highest priority for the first 100 days of 2019.
In his budget speech, he outlined a plan for setting up a legal weed system. Among other key features, his plan would set up a tax system for legal weed.
Additionally, it would establish frameworks for producing and selling legal weed. Even more, Gov. Cuomo’s plan would provide a way to redress prior marijuana convictions.
Since bringing up the issue of legalization in his budget speech, Cuomo has continued pushing lawmakers to act quickly. Recently, he expressed confidence that lawmakers could vote for legalization before the budget’s April 1 deadline.
“We’ll work very hard to get it done,” Cuomo said, according to local reports. “In this business, six weeks is a lot of time. If we can’t do it right, then we’ll do it later.”
So far, lawmakers still need to iron out a number of details. These include questions about tax rates and several other pressing details.