By The Open Center

Today, The Open Center’s Big Apple-shaped heart is beating with pride. In a historic move to create racial equity, New York State legalized the recreational use of marijuana and with it, its rich history of entheogenic, therapeutic and ecological uses. This is a triumphant step forward toward the advancement and accessibility of cannabis for everyone seeking to expand their consciousness ‒ regardless of economics, skin color or identity ‒ in pursuit of a more just, equitable and sustainable world.

Furthermore, it works to undo generations of unnecessarily harsh prison sentences, which have overwhelmingly impacted New Yorkers of color (according to the NYPD, New Yorkers of color made up more than 94% of the arrests for marijuana violations and offenses in 2020).

Under the new law, 40% of tax revenue from the sale of cannabis will be reinvested back into the marginalized communities that have been disproportionately affected by racially-biased, marijuana-related arrests. Additionally, the felony drug records of those convicted of pot-related offenses that would now be legal will be expunged.

“This is a historic day in New York, one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” – NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

We couldn’t agree more.

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