As the Office of Cannabis Management prepares to award the first two dozen licenses to sell pot products on Monday, neighborhoods across the city are already plagued by shops selling the substance without a license, another indication of the chaos caused by the state’s decision to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana without establishing a regulatory framework.
Westchester’s legislature is now discussing a ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, but not on flavored cannabis products. However, the primary argument against flavored tobacco products is that they allegedly attract children; how can this not apply to cannabis products?
Similarly, municipal vape shops are able to offer edibles and other cannabis-related items, but fear repercussions if they sell cigarettes. Some even offer psilocybin “magic mushroom” bars, which have never been authorized.
Oh, and as of last month, the state was still searching for a reasonable DUI-marijuana test. According to the available evidence, legalization of marijuana results in a 6% increase in car accidents with injuries and a 4% increase in fatalities.
New York can also anticipate new health issues: Airway inflammation and emphysema are more prevalent among cannabis users than in cigarette smokers, according to a recent research. “Unlike tobacco, which is typically filtered, marijuana is smoked unfiltered,” one of the researchers explained to AFP.
Edibles pose a higher risk of extreme intoxication, especially among minors (who cannot legally consume cannabis but will do so regardless of the new laws).
Even vaping weed isn’t risk-free: Health experts have been warning for years that this has contributed to an increase in instances of serious lung disease.
And naturally, the anticipated bounty from taxing legal marijuana remains uncertain, even if authorities succeed in closing unlicensed shops: California continues to consume roughly two-thirds of its marijuana from the black market, and New York has lost millions to the cigarette black market for decades.
In this case, the horse has already bolted, but it appears that the legislature will have to revisit yet another landmark statute. Are legislators of the Empire State capable of making correct decisions on the first try?