News of Otsego County

justice involved

Chip Northrup on new pot stores

‘Justice involved’

The proposed New York State licensing program for cannabis dispensaries (a.k.a. dope shops) gives priority to applicants that have a record of being “justice involved” – that is, persons convicted of drug charges, or the relatives of such persons, before the state dope sale law went into effect. What a great euphemism for a criminal!

Fortunately, I qualify – having exported hashish from England to America in the 1970s. So where do I apply for a license to become the Dope King of Main Street? If sales are slow, I can simply consume the inventory or dispense it gratis to the denizens of Farkle Park.

One toke over the line in Texas,

Chip Northrup



Pot preference for ‘justice involved’ gives pause

Pot preference for ‘justice involved’ gives pause to law enforcement

New York took a big step toward opening its first licensed retail marijuana dispensaries when the Office of Cannabis Management adopted regulations on March 10 that could see some stores up and running by the end of the calendar year.

The proposed rules place ‘justice-involved’ individuals at the head of the line for winning the right to open a storefront dispensary – a priority in the 2021 law paving the way for recreational marijuana sales in New York State.

The newly issued regulations would require a person seeking a dispensary license to show proof of conviction for a pot-related offense in New York State prior to March 31, 2021, or have a family member convicted prior to March 31, 2021 on a pot charge.

The agency says it will evaluate license applicants based on criteria including whether the justice-involved individual had as his or her primary residence a home in an area with “historically high rates of arrest, conviction, or incarceration” for marijuana-related offenses, lived in an area with historically low median income, or lived in public housing. And, they promise, OCM will “actively promote applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, and promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity when issuing licenses for adult-use cannabis related activities.”

Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl was critical of the state’s plans for start-up licenses.

“We want criminals running a business like this?” he said. Sarcastically, he added, “What a fantastic idea. Here we are rewarding people who couldn’t follow the law in the first place.”

“We’re treating them like victims,” he said of those with prior convictions. “It’s like it’s no big deal that they broke the law. It’s an unfortunate situation.”

In an interview on WAMC radio last week, Albany County District Attorney David Soares, a Democrat, said, “It’s not the marijuana that’s been the cause of violence, it’s the protection of the

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