By Saul De Leon
Photo By Saul De Leon 20 April, 2021- Union Square, Manhattan– New Yorkers flock to the park to exercise their right to smoke weed in public to celebrate 4/20. The organization Joints for Jabs was on site giving covid-19 vaccination shots along with free joints after they are vaccinated. Hundreds of people lined up and the line nearly wrapped around the entire park. Here is a man with his friends playing music, dancing, smoking enjoying the beautiful whether. According to the New York Times, with the passing this bill New York, has become the 15th state to fully legalize recreational marijuana. Under the law New Yorkers will be allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational use.
Photo by Saul De Leon 20 April, 2021- Washington Square Park, Manhattan– The scene here at the park was vibrant. A jazz band was grooving away as dozens of people sit and enjoy the soothing sax, deep tone bass, and funky drums. The vibe was reminiscent of what is was here pre-pandemic. Fellow New Yorkers and NYU students filled the open lawns and benches to relax and enjoy what it felt to be a bright summer day on a spring afternoon. According to THE CITY the focal point of the bill is it plans to set social equity provisions that should direct 40% of tax revenues from legal weed sales into communities long-devastated by over-policing and offer marijuana business opportunities to traditionally underrepresented groups.
In Governor Andrew Cuomo Press prior to the finalization of the bill he said:
“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.”
Photo by Saul De Leon 20 April, 2021- Washington Square Park–Along with music filling the air there were artist displaying there work around the park. Paintings, drawings, spray plethora of medium to appreciate and to purchase. There was an artistic aura that filled the center of the park. Ideas and culture blending together in this one place like open market of free thinking and acceptance. According to the New York Times individuals with certain marijuana-related convictions will have their records automatically expunged. Luckily, there is some precedent for this that actually occurred. Back In 2019, more than 150,000 people with low-level marijuana convictions in New York had them cleared from there record.
Photo By Saul De Leon 20 April, 2021-Washington Square Park– Two Young adults preparing joints to hand out to their friends and fellow New Yorkers. Trails of weed smoke linger through out the park giving off a calming aroma. With laughter filling the air the space oozed positivity. As far as the legal sale of cannabis in the New York there isn’t a timeline. According to the bill it rest on whenever the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board construct the regulation and taxation of cannabis. Yet, it is projected that it won’t be till 2022 that we will see any sales of legal cannabis.
Photo By Saul De Leon 20 April, 2021- Washington Square Park, Manhattan– Two musician are shredding on their guitars in front of the fountain as pedestrian walk by. The man to the right steps in and turns into their hype man. While they rift off each other, off to the side there are people playing DMX tracks on a speaker. Paying homage to the late rapper who just recently passed away. Even though the retail sales of cannabis may not be readily available to the public. The bill will expand the list of people with access to medical cannabis. In Governor Cuomo’s press release it states that “The legislation will allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana, increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient, and permit home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients.”