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New York marijuana legalization: what this means for employers, employees

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NEW YORK — Right now in New York State, adults 21 and older can legally possess up to three ounces of marijuana, but they can’t legally sell it or grow it until after the retail system is set up, which will likely take a year or longer.

“I assure you that there’s a full implementation of this law (that) will be beneficial to all of our communities and, quite frankly, to the great state of New York,” New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said earlier this week.

Criminal justice reform advocates hope the legislation signed Wednesday will help redress the inequities of a system that has locked up people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.

The legislation provides protections for cannabis users in the workplace, housing, family court, and in schools, colleges, and universities. It also sets a target of providing half of the marijuana licenses to individuals from underrepresented communities.

Allen Shoikhetbrod, a partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC with extensive experience in employment law matters, spoke with 2 On Your Side about what impact the law could have on employees and employers.

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