New York Cannabis Expungement & Felonies

New York Cannabis Expungement Guide

Discover comprehensive insights into the New York cannabis expungement process through these detailed and informative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

How did New York handle expungements for cannabis?

Under New York’s 2021 legalization law, certain old and new penal law marijuana convictions are automatically expunged without any required action from the convicted individuals.

  • Specifically, those convicted of possessing up to 16 ounces or selling up to 25 grams of cannabis benefit from this automatic expungement​.
  • The automatic expungement of criminal records is to be completed through the Office of Cannabis Management​​.

The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) eliminated old marijuana penalties under Article 221 of the penal law, replacing it with Article 222, containing new penalties. The specific statutes automatically expunged are here.

All felonies? Only non-violent?

  • The 2021 marijuana legalization bill expanded the list of marijuana offenses subject to automatic expungement, covering misdemeanor and felony possession and misdemeanor sale offenses​.
  • While not explicitly tied to cannabis expungement, it’s noted that, in general, certain types of criminal convictions may not be expunged in New York, including most sex offenses, violent crimes, and Class A felonies​​.

Were there any crimes related to cannabis that disqualified someone from applying as a social equity applicant?

Individuals convicted of offenses related to the functions or duties of owning and operating a business within three years of the application date may be disqualified. However, the board can review such cases considering the nature of the crime, circumstances, and evidence of rehabilitation. The board will then evaluate the suitability of the applicant to be issued a license based on the evidence found through the review​

Felony convictions within the past five years involving fraud, money laundering, forgery, or other unlawful conduct related to owning and operating a business could disqualify an applicant.

Felony convictions within the past five years for hiring, employing, or using a minor in transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale, or peddling any controlled substance to a minor; or selling, offering to sell, furnishing, offering to furnish, administering, or giving any controlled substance to a minor are also disqualifying factors​​.

Status of Current Social Equity Program:

A three-pronged approach is taken to promote social equity, with the creation and implementation of a social and economic equity plan that promotes racial, ethnic, and gender diversity when issuing licenses and in commerce​​​​.

  • Social and Economic Groups ( SEE)
    • Minority-owned
    • Women-owned business 
    • Distressed farmers
    • Individuals from disproportionately impacted communities 
    • Service-Disabled veterans
  • Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Program
    • Prioritizing justice-involved individuals for the first retail licenses in the state. Justice-involved means individuals or an eligible family member have been convicted of a marijuana-related offense in NY. 
  • Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund
    • $200 million fund seeded with $50 million in state funds to be repaid by tax revenue generated by cannabis sales. This fund is dedicated to justice-involved individuals. 
  • Cannabis Compliance Training and Mentorship Program
    • 10-week virtual training program to train three cohorts of trainees. Legacy cultivators, traditional farmers, and a combo of legacy processors and traditional food and beverage professionals.

How Can Point Seven Group Help?

The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!

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