An Albany lawmaker has proposed a bill to make it easier for transgender and non-binary business people to participate in the emerging adult-use cannabis industry.
The measure, introduced last month in the State Senate, comes on the heels of historic and progressive legislation passed earlier this spring to legalize marijuana. The law sets aside 50% of cannabis licenses for cultivators, processors, distributors and dispensaries, aimed at minority applicants, women, distressed farmers and veterans.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was intended in part to help mitigate the legacy of the War on Drugs. Black and brown men have been disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, a pattern that continues today, with Black and Hispanic New Yorkers receiving more than 90% of all marijuana summonses in 2020, while white New Yorkers comprised just 3%.
The new law lists minority-owned businesses as ‘social and economic equity applicants,’ a designation that allows Black and brown New Yorkers a chance at participating in the cannabis industry by having access to licenses.
However, Sen. Jeremy Cooney, a Democrat who represents Rochester, said gender minorities should also benefit from the cannabis market. […]