Should Cannabis Consumption Be Banned in Public Like Drinking Alcohol? – NY Senator Says Yes, Including Eating an Edible!

July 28, 2023 · Cannabis.net

In July 2023, New York State Senator George Borello (R) introduced a measure to ban cannabis smoking and consumption in public places, except for locations with special authorization. Senator George Borrello (R) has served New York State Senate District 57 since November 26, 2019. His political career, however, began much earlier, as a Chautauqua County Legislator, where he faithfully served from 2010 until 2017.

Following that, he served as County Executive for Chautauqua County, New York, from 2018 to 2019, refining his leadership talents even more. Senator Borrello’s Republican Party influence extends to sections of Western New York, including the city of Jamestown, which is inside his District 57. His persistent commitment to the well-being of his fellow citizens has shaped his illustrious political career.

Borello highlighted concerns from constituents regarding the increase in public cannabis consumption since the enactment of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2021. He argued that the pungent odor of marijuana on public sidewalks and in other spaces is affecting residents, including children.

This proposal aims to apply similar rules to cannabis use as those in effect for tobacco.

The GOP Senator’s Proposal and Its Implications

Senate Bill 7604 seeks to prohibit the public use of cannabis while granting cities and towns the authority to create precise guidelines for permissible locations for marijuana consumption. Presently, the bill is pending review in the Senate Rules Committee.

Currently, the state law allows public cannabis use wherever tobacco smoking is permitted, a comparison many find unsuitable. For instance, New York introduced the Clean Indoor Air Act in 1989, which strictly forbids smoking tobacco and using vapor products in most indoor and certain outdoor public areas and workplaces.

Assemblyman Borello argues that cannabis use and tobacco consumption are fundamentally different and should not be governed by the same rules. The comparison drawn by Senator Borello is between cannabis use and alcohol consumption, as he argues that both can lead to cognitive and motor impairment.

If the bill becomes law, violators will face a fine of $125.

Borello highlights that in most states with legal adult-use cannabis programs, consumption is limited to private properties, reflecting a more responsible approach. However, he points out that New York’s leaders have often favored reckless choices, as demonstrated by the recent recreational marijuana law.

Republicans in the state Legislature have supported the ban, aiming to prohibit smoking and consumption of marijuana in public places. The proposal has raised debates about individual rights, public health concerns, and balancing cannabis regulation and personal freedoms.

Trends in Cannabis Consumption and Culture

New York’s cannabis culture has evolved significantly since its legalization. There’s now increased acceptance and integration of cannabis use throughout society. This move has given customers access to various cannabis products, including flowers, edibles, vapes, and concentrates, all available through regulated shops and licensed firms.

Consequently, consumers in New York have broadened their consumption habits, embracing the variety of cannabis offerings now accessible to them. While some prefer traditional smoking methods, others prefer discreet and convenient options like edibles and vape pens. Moreover, introducing higher-potency strains has also been observed, appealing to different market segments.

Cannabis tourism has also become a prominent trend in New York. Tourists from neighboring states, where cannabis is still prohibited, journey to New York to indulge in legal cannabis products and immerse themselves in the state’s vibrant cannabis culture. This influx of visitors has brought about favorable economic effects, benefiting local businesses and boosting tax revenues in the region.

With increased acceptance and mainstream exposure, cannabis education and advocacy have become more prevalent in New York. Organizations and activists work to promote responsible cannabis use, educate the public about its benefits and risks, and support sensible cannabis policies.

The Cannabis Market in New York Since Legalization

In 2021, New York took a significant step by officially legalizing adult-use cannabis by enacting the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). This groundbreaking legislation allowed individuals aged 21 and above to possess, use, and sell cannabis, making New York the 15th state in the U.S. to embrace recreational marijuana.

The legalization triggered a boom in interest and investment in the state’s cannabis business. Businesses and consumers alike realized the enormous potential of this new business, resulting in more significant expenses in cultivation, processing, retail, and related services to meet the rising client base.

In the wake of legalization, many cannabis companies entered the New York market, ranging from licensed dispensaries to innovative startups offering diverse cannabis products and services. The regulated market and the promise of legal sales motivated significant investment, creating fresh employment opportunities and contributing to the state’s overall economic growth.

Moreover, the legalization of cannabis brought forth a substantial revenue stream for New York. The state could now generate significant income through taxation and licensing fees from the thriving cannabis industry. This revenue infusion presented opportunities to enhance public services, support education, and invest in infrastructure, further bolstering the state’s economy.

Recognizing the historical injustices linked to cannabis prohibition, New York, like several other states, embraced social equity initiatives alongside legalization. These programs aimed to rectify past disparities by ensuring equitable access to cannabis industry opportunities for communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Social equity initiatives prioritized licenses and support for minority-owned businesses and individuals with prior cannabis-related convictions, fostering a more inclusive and fair cannabis landscape in the state.

Conclusion

The potential ban on public cannabis use in New York holds substantial implications for the state’s burgeoning cannabis market and culture. While the measure seeks to address valid concerns regarding public consumption, its implementation could also impact cannabis businesses and consumer behaviors. Since the legalization of cannabis, New York’s market has experienced remarkable growth, fostering new businesses, boosting tax revenue, and promoting social equity initiatives.

With consumption habits diversifying and cannabis culture becoming increasingly normalized, the proposed legislation’s progression necessitates close monitoring to assess its potential effects on the state’s evolving cannabis landscape. Striking the right balance between public interests and industry growth will be vital for the continued success of the cannabis sector in New York. (Full Story)

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