New York: State’s first marijuana licenses will go to those with criminal histories

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As they pave the way for New York’s first recreational marijuana dispensaries, state officials are sending an unusual message to would-be operators: only those with criminal records need apply.

On Wednesday, the state’s Office of Cannabis Management released its first set of proposed regulations, reserving the initial batch of licenses for those with past marijuana-related convictions, or their close family members. Applicants must also demonstrate experience having run a successful business.

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Non-profit organizations that serve individuals with past marijuana convictions will also be eligible.

“What New York is doing is actually giving people with criminal justice histories first-mover advantage,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.


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