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Cannabis Legalization and New York State – 2 Years Later

Kyle Kushman with cannabis plants ready to harvest

Hey everyone, it’s Kyle Kushman here. I’ve got a really timely article for you today. 

Even though I now live in California, my birthplace on Long Island in New York state will always hold a fond place in my heart.

March 31, 2021, was the happiest of days in New York; that’s the day cannabis was legalized and decriminalized. So two years on, to the day, I thought I’d take a look at how far we’ve come, why it’s so important for the people of New York, and list some of the best cultivars that came out of my state.

But first, let’s briefly examine cannabis’ history in the Empire State.

New York State cannabis history 

The team at Homegrown Cannabis Co. has covered some of this before. But here is a brief summary:

1800s – first discovered in the state with no restrictions

1906 – the Food and Drug Act allowed prescriptions for cannabis

1927 – outlawed across the entire state

1973 – the Rockefeller Drug Laws imposed strict sentences on sellers

1977 – possession of under 0.85 oz of cannabis decriminalized

2014 – medical cannabis legalized under The Compassionate Care Act

2021 – March 31 – fully legalized – well with restrictions (see below)

2022 – In November – 36 licenses were issued to sell cannabis legally

2022 – December 29 – legal sales began

The benefits for the people of New York State

It’s a tired old one by now, but the phrase ‘the city that never sleeps’ is actually legit. New York City is a 24-hour place, and there’s always something going on. Living there is stressful, and New Yorkers need to find a way to unwind after a hectic day.

How do New Yorkers manage to de-stress? The solution for many has always been, and I’m sure it will continue to be — cannabis! 

Kyle Kushman smoking cannabis

Cannabis for everyone

In the recent past, gorilla growing was the rage, and people lived in fear of their apartments being raided and risked fines and jail time

That’s all changed now; provided you follow the restrictions (see below), you can be loud and proud about your cultivating exploits. Invite your friends over and have a toking party!

But where do you find great weed? Dispensary shopping has its perks. You can go in and get advice, some may even let you sample the product, and there’s often a wide range of cultivars. But there’s a catch; it’s not cheap in New York (is anything these days?). You’re looking at $270–340 an ounce for anything worth toking.

The solution is in your hands now. Cultivate it yourself! You saw that coming, right? After all, my mission is to teach everyone how to grow awesome cannabis!

Let’s look at some figures. Take Strawberry Cough, for example. Buy your seeds from Homegrown Cannabis Co, and if you buy a pack of 24, it works out to less than $10 per seed. Grown right, you can yield up to 18 ounces of weed per seed. 

So $10 for 18 ounces sure sounds better to me than $240 and up for 1 ounce. Yeah sure, there are growing expenses and the like, but it’s still nowhere near that much. So what do you think? Is it time to get growing?

Now you know why cannabis reform is so significant for you, let’s look further at the benefits for the whole state.

It’s good for the state

Not only is it great to be able to grow and consume cannabis in the state, but there are also some benefits for everyone, non-tokers included.

Since legalization, the cannabis industry has been growing considerably. The marijuana legalization impact assessment report suggests the potential tax revenue from cannabis of more than $350 million annually.

The way they estimate potential tax revenues comes from approximate sales figures:

  • Medium quality – $270 per ounce
  • High quality – $340 per ounce

New York State eventually settled on a 13% tax on retail marijuana made up of the following: 

  • 9% state excise tax 
  • 4% local excise tax

There are some great plans in place to use this extra tax. Firstly, they need to cover the costs required to administer cannabis in New York State. Then split the rest like this:

  • 40% to the State Lottery Fund for Education
  • 40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20% to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Restrictions and limits

So what are the restrictions? Unlike some other states, they’re not that bad. The biggie is that you must be over 21, but I kinda get it, as that’s the same as the drinking age. 

Limits of what you can possess

Now possession is the other thing. Don’t, I repeat, don’t carry more on you than you should. Let’s not give the law any reason to go after you. 

Maximum possession:

  • 3 oz. of cannabis — flower, leaf, bud
  • 24g (around 0.8 oz.) of concentrate
is cannabis legal in new york

Now the other rule is about where you can toke. Nope, it’s not wherever you want, and you’ll get fined $25 if you light up in the wrong place. So public places are out, except the ones where tobacco smoking is allowed, and inside your car, stationary or not, is a no-no.

Growing limits

Let’s talk about growing. I’ve already given you some great reasons why you should, so here’s what you need to know. Any one person can cultivate six plants at a time, but only three can be fully matured, while the other three need to be “in progress.” 

This matter gets complicated when there are multiple cultivators in the house. A single person can have six, but an entire household can only have 12. And again, half mature and half still growing.

That’s still a lot of cannabis, and with the size of most New York City apartments, that’s about all the room you have anyway. So get to it! Here are four state-based cultivars to get you started:

New York Cultivars

Ok, so we can never be 100% certain where a cultivar comes from unless it’s a landrace. I have it on pretty good authority; these four originated in New York or have at least a solid connection. 

1. Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is a sativa-dominant cultivar that originated in the early 1990s in New York City. I’d have to say that it’s probably the most well-known cultivar from the city. I mean, Redman and Wiz Khalifa are fans, and even Zayn Malik wrote a song about it.

So why is it so good? Well, in 2012, it won the High Times Cup for having the highest lab-tested THC. This baby is strong, man. 22% of energizing sativa! One toke and you’re set for the day. As wake-n-bakes go, this one is up there as one of the best.

2. NYC Diesel 

What do you do with a superstar cultivar? You breed it with two others and make a super-hybrid. NYC Diesel was produced in New York City from Sour Diesel, Hawaiian, and an Afghan indica.

This baby can grow into a monster of a plant, up to 13ft, and has really impressive yields of up to 23 oz per plant. It’s also sativa-dominant, so expect hours of euphoric bliss. 

But for me, the stand-out quality is that it smells like diesel but tastes like chocolate! You’ve got to experience this one for yourself. 

3. Strawberry Cough

How can I talk about New York cultivars without mentioning one of my all-time favorites. So everyone thinks I invented Strawberry Cough, well I didn’t. I was one of the first to grow it, and sure, I made it famous. I don’t deny that. It was on my road trip across the US that I handed clones of the plant to people everywhere, but I didn’t invent it. I’ve already set the record straight. Check it out!

It’s called Strawberry Cough for two reasons. Yes, it smells and tastes like strawberries, and the smoke is so thick even seasoned tokers will cough. With 23-25% THC, it’s a long-lasting mood-lifter.

Dominant terpene caryophyllene is to thank for the slight touch of pepper and spice under the strawberry and could provide anti-inflammatory assistance. This one is ideal for social gatherings and sharing with friends.

4. Blueberry

While not bred exclusively in the state, Blueberry was first introduced by breeder DJ Short in the early 1980s in upstate New York. It is a potent indica-dominant strain known for its sweet, fruity flavor and relaxing effects.

When it comes to the gene pool, this one comes from the very deep end. Thai, Purple Thai, and Afghani are its parents. Now that’s some pedigree. Unlike the others from New York, this one is more indica-leaning. Say bye-bye to all your stress and anxiety, and chill right out.

New York and Cannabis – What a Pair

There you have it, my fellow New Yorkers. Cannabis has been legalized in NY for two years, and things have never been better. The new tax it brings into the state is being put to good use, so everyone wins.

Are you ready to discover the wonder that is cannabis cultivation? Make sure you stick to the rules, though, don’t grow over the limit, don’t carry on you more than is allowed, and toke responsibility.

I predict we will see a range of new and exciting hybrids emerge from this state. At the time of writing, New York is one of 26 states where cannabis is now fully legal. If you’re from any of those states and have never grown it before, now’s your time. 

For those of you totally new to the wonders of cultivating your own, check out Homegrown Cannabis Co.’s range of seeds for beginners. Once your seeds are delivered, come back and read my how-to-grow articles, and you’ll become an expert in no time. What are you waiting for?

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