Legalities of Cannabis in NY

Cannabis Sativa Leaf

Cannabis Sativa Leaf

Glancing at the idea of growing weed or Marijuana and everyone knows it’s illegal, right? At the federal level, the answer to this is an easy yes. But like most things in the real world, the complications spiral out of control quickly and get legally hazy or foggy, dangerous like an iceberg in the middle of the night.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana (MMJ). Growing Marijuana in a state with Medical Cannabis laws must be legal in some way to allow for the creation of the product without requiring shipping across state lines; breaking Federal Law. How could there be a law in New York state that would require someone to break a Federal Law?

The permitting process is complex but it does allow companies to grow Cannabis of some form in all fifty states. Let’s discuss what we are talking about.

Is Cannabis the same as Marijuana? The origin of the word Marijuana is an epic tail worth reading. Tl; Dr: the government created the term when outlawing it with The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Marihuana was a purposefully misspelled version of the Mexican Slang Marijuana. There are a lot of names for pot like weed but it all refers to the Cannabis Sativa plant. Most Americans in the 1930s knew what Cannabis was but had never heard of Marijuana. Is Cannabis the same as Hemp?

Cannabis and the compound Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are what the Federal government are trying to control because it can be abused and produce a dependence. The feeling of euphoria that a person gets when smoking is a direct result of THC. This feeling is what a behavioral psychologist called the mother of all pellets if you want to make a human ring a bell (BF Skinner’s Law of Effect – Reinforcement).

Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam logo from

THC was discovered by Professor Raphael Mechoulam in the 60’s when he began searching for the naturally occurring plant compounds in Cannabis. After it’s smoked it becomes THCa and produces the euphoric effects that it is demonized for. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam recently founded Tikun™ a Health & Wellness Brand based on the Hebrew phrase Tikkun Olam; literally, “repair of the world” or overcoming all forms of idolatry with an aspiration to behave and act constructively and beneficially [Wikipedia].

Growing in New York

As soon as a new industry is formed, the insiders or “old boy’s” club starts up and they try to keep out newcomers. They put the time and effort into getting where they are and want to protect that investment. It slows down later adopters, but pandora’s box is already open. Growing Cannabis in NY can be accomplished by getting a permit by fulfilling these prerequisites:

  1. Applying organizations must submit detailed business plans which demonstrate good and ethical business models and prove that they are capable of satisfying the state’s large demand for medical marijuana. (There are varying pre-application education requirements, license requirements, and state-sponsored health and business courses that staff members must complete depending on their position within the organization.)
  2. Pay the application fee. Each application must be accompanied by two fees: a $10,000 non-refundable application fee and a $200,000 bi-annually renewing registration fee which will be refunded should the organization be denied a registration.
    Cannabis Market Projection

    United States’ Cannabis Market Projection [The Cannabist Feb 2017]

How much money is there in the New York Medical Marijuana (MMJ) market? Medical sales for 2016 amounted to $35,700,000 while estimated medical sales for 2021 are expected to reach $253,500,000. US market projections are larger with NY expected to only play a small part.

If NY legalizes recreational Cannabis it will likely follow the growth curve experienced in Colorado. With Half A Billion In Tax Revenue, Colorado shows there is money on the table for New York.