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Green Growing Pains: The Rocky Road of Cannabis Legalization in New York


The recent rollout of cannabis regulations in New York was meant to streamline and legalize what has long been a bustling underground industry. But instead of fostering growth and community, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has taken steps that threaten to dissolve the very fabric of a market built on trust and mutual respect. Let’s delve into how the OCM's well-intended rules may be disconnecting and disenfranchising the core community they were meant to protect.

1. The Roots of New York's Cannabis Community:

Before cannabis was legalized in New York, there was a vibrant tapestry of growers, sellers, and consumers. This wasn't just a market; it was a community—deeply interconnected through years of shared experiences and mutual reliance. These small operators weren't just business owners; they were cultivators of culture and trust.

2. The Disconnect of OCM’s Regulations:

As legalization took hold, the expectation was clear: those who had piloted the industry through murky legal waters would lead its new, sunlit path. Instead, the OCM's regulatory approach has unwittingly sidelined these pioneers, favoring a smaller, more corporate aggregation that lacks the soul and the human touch of its predecessors.

3. Cutting Community Ties:

What the OCM saw as a cleanup was, to many, a teardown. Licenses were scarce, and criteria seemed obscure—disregarding the relationships and reputations long established. The new market structure imposed by the OCM has not only economically marginalized seasoned operators but has also eroded the community ethos that defined the local cannabis scene.

4. Economic and Social Repercussions:

The economic implications are dire for small businesses. But beyond dollars, there’s a cultural cost. A market once defined by its grassroots nature and personal vendor-customer relationships is at risk of becoming yet another faceless industry, where the bottom line might soon outweigh the communal bond.

5. A Plea for Inclusivity and Understanding:

The call to action is clear. The cannabis community is urging the OCM to rethink how licenses are awarded, advocating for a system that is inclusive of the diversity and vibrancy of the original market players. The aim is to forge regulations that protect consumer safety and business legality without sacrificing the community spirit that makes New York's cannabis culture unique.


Navigating the shift from an informal to a regulated market is no small task, particularly in a state as diverse as New York. The OCM has a challenging role, but it must move forward with both eyes open, embracing the nuances of the communities it serves. Only through genuine engagement and a flexible, inclusive approach can the Empire State hope to cultivate a cannabis industry that thrives on every level.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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NY State is the only entity making money in the current legalization framework. They are taxing the grower, the processor ‘trimmer / packager’ and the retailer. This is a triple tax that pushes prices of ‘legal weed’ into the $75 -$90 per eight range. I can assure you the growers are not making money!!! NY is laughing all the way to the bank. Why should a farmer work 7 days a week with no days off EVER, only to have stupid ass bureaucrats take all the $$$???

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