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Legal Weed for (Almost) Everyone

As I Jew, I demand some "love" from NYC. Where are my reparations for the holocaust? Is it too much to ask to make sure that every weed dispensary is run by a member of the Tribe?

Does Mayor Adams have any idea of what it's like to grow up in Eastern Europe during the 1930s? Well, I do. I was born in 1957 in Highland Park, IL. Practically the same thing.

Legal Weed for (Almost) Everyone

Step right up and get your pot license, if you check the right boxes in New York.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Oct. 6, 2023 6:34 pm ET

New York takes pride in inclusivity these days, and the marijuana business is no exception. Convicts were the first group prioritized for licenses, but the state broadened the circle this week to include women, minorities, veterans and more. White, males with clean criminal records should keep their day jobs, however.

The state Office of Cannabis Management launched the new rules Wednesday, which it says will cover about 1,000 applications for commercial licenses. The board will prioritize applicants who can check off at least one box on its list of “social and economic equity” categories, and it wants to give at least 50% of its slots to those entrepreneurs.

New York put felons at the front of the line for commercial licenses when it legalized recreational pot in 2021—in the name of redressing the harm done by previous, supposedly unjust drug laws. The rules specify that top applicants are those who “were convicted of a cannabis-related offense,” or who have a relative who was. They must also earn less than 80% of the median in their county and belong to “a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition,” which sounds like code for a high-crime area.

The update this week adds preferences for minority- and women-owned businesses. The rationale here should be clear to anyone who’s watched progressive politics since summer 2020, as well as government contracting since 1977. Yet other additions have stranger origins, like the preference for “service disabled” veterans. Did Empire State progressives catch the patriotism bug?

Not quite. The veteran preference is a concession from the cannabis board, meant to moot a lawsuit that four disabled vets brought against the state in August. A judge blocked the state from issuing any more licenses until the case is settled, saying the original guidelines were likely discriminatory. At least one plaintiff took this week’s update as a victory. “We are finally being prioritized,” Carmine Fiore told the New York Post

The last group getting a high in the weed business is “distressed farmers.” The purpose of this one is to invite marijuana growers who say a lack of licensed shops is letting their crop wither in the field. The growers have a point, as only about 23 legal dispensaries have opened statewide since the law took effect. But count on more than a few Brooklynites to stretch the common definition of “farmer.”

The smell of skunk weed is already so ubiquitous in New York these days that we wonder why there’s a need for any licenses. No doubt it’s for the tax dollars, and it’s nice to know the state is promoting the drug’s production in a spirit of progressive equity.

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