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A hand holds a lit cannabis joint as smoke billows around. Not only is marijuana cultivation, distribution and possession still illegal under federal law, causing many commercial landlords to be reluctant to rent to a tenant in that industry, all marijuana sold for recreational and medicinal use in New York must be grown and processed within the state. (Credit: Tunatura/Shutterstock)

Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), the legalization of cannabis products in New York went into effect March 31, 2022. It is expected to become one of the largest regulated cannabis markets in the U.S., with a projected $4.2 billion in sales within five years. However, regulations and licensing details are still emerging, which has left both residential and commercial landlords confused when it comes to the substance’s use on their properties.

Landlords must sift through the haze when renting while the law on marijuana use, cultivation and distribution is still emerging.

What the law allows

New Yorkers 21 and older can now legally possess limited amounts of marijuana and concentrated cannabis for recreational use, and can legally smoke or consume marijuana in public almost everywhere they can smoke tobacco. There are exceptions. Not surprisingly, it is illegal to smoke at schools and workplaces; it is banned in parks, beaches, boardwalks, pedestrian plazas, playgrounds, where tobacco smoking is similarly prohibited; and is additionally banned inside cars (even while parked) and on outdoor patios at bars and restaurants.



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