Amid the budding legal cannabis marketplace in New York, Republican state lawmakers are advocating for a ban on smoking and consuming marijuana in public spaces. Their proposed measure would empower local governments to enact laws prohibiting public cannabis consumption, citing concerns over public exposure to marijuana smoke and its effects.
New York first legalized cannabis in 2021, but retail sales have been slow to take off. Supporters of legalization framed the issue around reversing the impact of previous stringent marijuana laws. Recently, state lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul took steps to regulate unlicensed cannabis sales, resorting to civil fines and potential business closures.
Despite the Clean Air Act and local smoking bans already restricting public marijuana smoking, Republicans argue that the public consumption of marijuana, due to its psychoactive effects, presents a unique hazard requiring similar public restrictions to those on alcohol. The proposed penalties for violations include fines up to $125.
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