SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) Understanding NY State marijuana laws can be challenging. According to the New York Times, residents in the Big Apple with marijuana convictions will get access to the first retail licenses.
Jim Charon, owner of Syracuse Hemporium recognizes the racial disparities associated with marijuana.
“The arrests record for the Black and brown has definitely been higher, compared to White people for the same plant,” Charon said.
Now, in NY State, legislatures announce former convictions will be expunged, in an effort to promote social justice and equity-entrepreneurs.
Sarah Stenuf, founder of Veteran’s Ananda Inc., a non-profit in Oswego County is one of the first applicants waiting for consent to grow and sell marijuana, legally.
Stenuf is not the only professional excited for the progress with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Cannabis Cultivation Bill, Kenneth Weinberg from the Cannabis Doctors of New York says the bill has lightened the burden for writing prescriptions.
“The did what I think was a very good and humane move,” Weinberg said. “They allowed any condition that a practitioner feels would qualify a patient to allow them to become certified, so that’s huge.”
But, one thing that hasn’t changed are the stereotypes and the lack of understanding many people have for marijuana laws.
Stenuf says she has been preparing for bills like this one for years. She even partnered with a geneticist to prepare her 22 acres of land for cannabis cultivation and bought six greenhouses.
“As of right now, everybody in the world is surpassing America in technology, especially agriculture technology and with that, it doesn’t make a lot of things as a farmer affordable,” Stenuf said. “With that being said, I want us to conduct better research, to create the infrastructure that we need to then produce the textiles, products and medicine that people deserve.”
Stenuf served four years in the U.S. Army and was medically discharged due to epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
Stenuf advocates for cannabis cultivation and says the plant has natural ingredients that help with ailments and negative side effects that she and many others suffer from.
“I think there’s a huge misconception in what recreational and medicinal are in the first place,” Stenuf said. “It’s kind of like the big misconception in our mental health and in our society in the first place about use, abuse and addiction and all of that.”
Today, state legislatures are promoting economic development and public health and safety with the new cannabis cultivation bill.
“I don’t even think people realize on a recreational standpoint that a lot of people are using it medicinally, without even realizing it.”
According to Hochul’s website, the conditional cultivation bill that went into effect this year focuses on provisions to ensure equity, inclusion and environmental sustainability.