Former drug offenders in New York receive their first marijuana licences

The first 150 permits for the legal sale of cannabis in New York state are being made available to those who have been convicted of marijuana-related charges as well as to their family members.
The brother of Naiomy Guerrero was frequently detained by law enforcement and was found guilty of narcotics offences in New York while marijuana was still prohibited. She is currently starting a legal cannabis business, an exciting new industry laden with dangers.
The first 150 permits for the legal sale of cannabis in New York State are being made available to those who have been convicted of drug-related charges, including selling, as well as to their family.
The state’s Democratic authorities enacted the policy in an effort to make up for the disproportionate number of arrests and convictions that occurred among the African-American and Hispanic communities during the years when marijuana was outlawed.
The event is “very wonderful for my family,” said Guerrero, 31, a PhD student in art history whose parents are from the Dominican Republic.
She told AFP that the discriminatory measures the city has implemented, like as stop and frisk, are particularly concerning “considering where we come from and what we have gone through.”
Guerrero was one of the first 28 qualified candidates to get their licence to start a legitimate store and market locally cultivated marijuana last month.
The licences were issued more than a year after cannabis usage was made legal in New York State, which has 20 million residents.
The scent of marijuana is currently just as pervasive in New York City as yellow cabs and gleaming skyscrapers.
The local administration anticipates that the legal marijuana market would bring in $1.3 billion in sales as early as next year and between 19,000 and 24,000 employment over the course of three years. That amounts to much-needed tax money.
Race-based differences
Another New Yorker hoping to make money is Jeremy Rivera. In 2016, he was found guilty of a “non-violent narcotics violation involving cannabis.” After being freed from jail in 2018, he promised never to return.
The 36-year-old plans to launch a marijuana shop on Long Island, east of the city, to capitalise on his commercial skills and cannabis knowledge.
The highly inked Rivera, who grew up in the Queens area surrounded by violence, intends to be one of the upcoming licensees.
“I want to become that shining example that tells others, “Hey, listen, I did it.” I had been a drug dealer all year long and a 20-year member of a gang. I decided to give up that way of life “He informed AFP.
In addition to having a cannabis conviction, candidates must also have a successful company to qualify for one of the first 150 licences, which will come before the market is fully open.
According to a state study from 2018, there had been 800,000 marijuana possession arrests over the preceding 20 years.
Black people made up the majority of individuals detained in 2017 (48%) while Hispanic people made up 38% of those detained.
Tremaine Wright, chairperson of the control board for New York’s Office of Cannabis Management, stated that prohibition “denied people opportunity, created divestment in communities, and it broke up families” (OCM).
Guerrero claims that in the 2000s, “we couldn’t go outdoors without getting pulled up by the cops” due to the notorious stop-and-frisk strategy of the New York Police Department, which disproportionately targeted persons of colour.
She remembered that it was like “being in a continual, perpetual state of monitoring and harassment.”
Although the cannabis initiative is ambitious, execution will face certain difficulties, according to experts.
We have only started on our path toward social fairness. Desmon Lewis, co-founder of The Bronx Community Foundation, which is supporting candidates, stressed that we need financing and knowledge.

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