De Blasio lays out details for legal pot use in NYC

- Mayor Bill de Blasio released a report Thursday by his Task Force on Cannabis Legalization which was convened to create a guide for the city's preparation for the potential legalization of pot.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the legalization of marijuana across the state during a preview of his legislative agenda for 2019 earlier this week.

With Democrats leading the legislature in Albany the legalization of cannabis appears to be likely.

Some of the highlights of the recommendations for New York City in the 77-page report is setting the age limit to 21; no smoking marijuana in public places and the establishment of home delivery services.

Other recommendations include:

• Establish an Equitable Licensing System: Create local licensing programs, regulate public places of consumption, regulate home and commercial cultivation and manufacturing, and regulate home delivery services.

• Preserve Communities: Establish zoning and area restrictions for cannabis businesses, as well as restrictions on the density to determine how the location of cannabis businesses can best fit into the fabric of its communities.

• Protect Public Health: Enforce age limits of 21 and over with civil rather than criminal penalties to violations of cannabis regulations to the greatest extent possible consistent with public safety.

• Right Historic Wrongs: Recommend automatic expungement of criminal records relating to conduct that may be legalized, including personal use and possession of certain quantities – subject to notice and opportunity by District Attorneys’ Offices to raise objections in specific cases.

• Ensure Product Safety: Recommend statewide standards for product safety, labeling and packaging, marketing, and advertising, as well as a mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system accessible to State and local regulators and financial institutions serving cannabis-related businesses.

• Put Small Businesses First: Work with State authorities to reduce the risk of market domination by big businesses and foster sustainable growth, in part, by restricting businesses from owning and controlling each stage of the supply chain, which may otherwise be owned by different, specialized businesses.

• Create Equal Opportunity: Participate in a dual state-local licensing structure that will permit the City to pursue its own innovations to promote economic opportunities created by this new market, subject to the minimum standards set by the State.

• Ease Access to Capital: Advocate for legislation expressly providing that banking and professional services for cannabis-related businesses do not violate State law.

• Make Fair Investments: Allocate tax revenue, licensing fees, and other sources of financing to administer the new industry and support cannabis businesses and workers, with a focus on target populations and community reinvestment.

• Build Local Businesses: Develop an incubator program to provide direct support to equity applicants in the form of counseling services, education, small businesses coaching, and compliance assistance.

In 2014, the NYPD changed its policy to issue criminal summonses instead of arresting for possession of marijuana in pubic view.

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