ALBANY, N.Y. — The first licenses to sell recreational marijuana in New York will go to people who were casualties of the war on drugs.
State officials said Wednesday that people with marijuana-related convictions would get dibs on the first 100 to 200 retail cannabis licenses awarded by New York.
Chris Alexander, the executive director of New York State's Office of Cannabis Management, told The New York Times that the state would also issue licenses to those who have “a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent” with marijuana convictions.
It's part of a broader effort to redress the inequities of a justice system that locked up a disproportionate number of people of color for drug crimes.
Alexander also told the Times that the state aimed to focus on “those who otherwise would have been left behind,” allowing New York to do "something that has not been done before.”
According to The Associated Press, other states have attempted similar policies to ensure equity among those with past drug convictions, but efforts have been slow-moving.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is set to announce the planned regulations for “social equity” applicants Thursday.
Hochul has also proposed further legislation that would secure $200 million in funding to assist new marijuana retail stores.
The announcement comes about a year after then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in the state.