Marijuana Legalization

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law on March 31, 2021. The MRTA authorizes the lawful use of adult-use recreational cannabis and the lawful use of medical cannabis effective immediately. The MRTA establishes the cannabis law, the New York State Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management (NYS OCM) and their respective powers and duties. 

The MRTA amends the NYS Penal Law by adding Article 222 Cannabis which describes what cannabis activities are legal and illegal. The MRTA states that any individual 21 or older may:

  1. Use, smoke, ingest, consume, possess, display, purchase, obtain or transport up to 3 ounces (oz) and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis;
  2. Transfer without compensation to another person 21 or older up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrate;
  3. Possess, use, display, purchase, obtain, manufacture, transport or give to any person 21 or older cannabis paraphernalia or concentrated cannabis paraphernalia;
  4. Plant, cultivate, harvest, dry, process or possess cultivated cannabis in accordance with Penal Law § 222.15

Where Can I Consume Marijuana?

Marijuana can be smoked anywhere where tobacco can be smoked or vaporized. The only exception to this rule is that cannabis use is not allowed in motor vehicles even when parked. Marijuana cannot be consumed in City of Albany Parks, within 500 feet of a school, and within 200 feet of a church. Please use the below interactive map to find out where smoking is prohibited and where cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites are permitted according to the existing City of Albany Unified Sustainable Development Ordinance (USDO)

How Do I Apply for a Cannabis License?

Please visit the NYS Office of Cannabis Management licensing webpage here.

What Authority Does the City of Albany Have?

The MRTA states that “all municipalities including counties are preempted from adopting any rule, ordinance, regulation or prohibition pertaining to the operation or licensure of adult-use, medical or cannabinoid hemp licenses”

HOWEVER, towns, cities, and villages can pass local laws and regulations that determine the time, place, and manner of adult-use retail dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses. The local law and regulations cannot make the operation of the license “unreasonably impractical”. The City of Albany DOES NOT have the authority to issue local licenses to cannabis licensees. That power and responsibility 

What Authority Does NYS Have?

The New York State Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) are responsible for establishing rules and regulations regarding obtaining a license for cultivation, production, distribution, sale and taxation of adult-use cannabis. 

Additional Resources