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New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Effective March 31, 2021: Possession and recreational use of up to three ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as oils derived from a cannabis plant, by adults 21 and over is now legal in New York. Adults can consume marijuana anywhere it is legal to smoke tobacco, and can also store up to five pounds at home.

Other provisions will take some time. For example, adults will be able to cultivate up to six plants (three mature and three immature) or twelve plants (six and six) for a household with more than one adult, but not until regulations are set for home growing, which can take up to eighteen months.

Users will not be permitted to purchase marijuana from a legal (licensed) retailer for up to a year or more for the state to set up the new mechanism for regulating marijuana. Ultimately, New Yorkers can now legally possess and consume marijuana, but have no legal way of obtaining it for the time being.

Under the new law, “it is unlawful for any employer or employment agency to refuse to hire, employ or license, or to discharge from employment or otherwise discriminate against an individual in compensation, promotion or terms, conditions or privileges of employment” because of his or her legal use of cannabis “in accordance with state law, outside work hours, off of the employer’s premises, and without use of the employer’s equipment or other property.” However, an employer is not be in violation of the law where the employer takes action related to the use of cannabis based on the following:

(i) the employer’s actions were required by state or federal statute, regulation, ordinance, or other state or federal governmental mandate;

(ii) the employee is impaired by the use of cannabis, meaning the employee manifests specific articulable symptoms while working that decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s job position, or such specific articulable symptoms interfere with an employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy work place, free from recognized hazards, as required by state and federal occupational safety and health law; or

(iii) the employer’s actions would require such employer to commit any act that would cause the employer to be in violation of federal law or would result in the loss of a federal contract or federal funding.

The law also creates an automatic expungement of previous marijuana convictions that would now be legal.

Click here for more information.

For more information on Medical or Recreational Marijuana, and whether they affect your state, visit our resource guide at the Hire Image Resource Library.


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