NYers with previous marijuana convictions to be issued first 100+ retail licenses

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you’ve been previously convicted of a marijuana offense in New York State, get ready to skip to the front of the line. State leaders say they intend to give the first 100, or so, retail marijuana licenses to those affected firsthand by the nation’s decades-long war on drugs.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to officially make this announcement during Thursday’s daily briefing, but the state posted the regulations Wednesday night.

Local Attorney Bill Easton said, "The efforts here are to address that imbalance and to give some of these people a preferred position, and I applaud it. I think it’s a very noble effort."

Over the years, Easton and his law firm have done lots of legal work when it comes to marijuana-related issues. He says the lives of people especially Blacks, and Hispanics with prior pot convictions before recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, have been tremendously affected.

"Those people shall be given a preferential acknowledgment, or inside lane on some of this. They probably have experience in marijuana. They have experience in its effects," Easton said.

Hochul is looking to spend $200 million from the State’s budget to help support new cannabis retail businesses. The future sales from legal recreational cannabis will pump billions into the state’s economy.

"They’ll be a tax base. They’ll be regulation. They’ll be all sorts of social benefits to regulating marijuana, especially for its medicinal use which I think a lot of dispensaries have been focused on already," Easton said.

Glenna Colaprete, owner of Glenna’s CBD in Brighton also supports Hochul’s upcoming announcement. She sent us this statement saying, "We are all excited to help facilitate a sophisticated, inclusive cannabis ecosystem in the Finger Lakes region with both positive social, and economic impacts to the larger communities, not to mention the burgeoning medicinal research and sustainability opportunities, so much more to come."

Colaprete said later this month the City of Rochester will launch the Cannabis Business Incubator at The Theater in Innovation Square, followed by the Finger Lakes Cannabis Business Incubator held at Finger Lakes Community College. Both will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Links to these two events are available below.