On Thursday, New York State began its push to facilitate the sale and distribution of recently legalized marijuana. The initial licenses to sell pot will go to people convicted of a marijuana offense. The former criminals are not only getting passed convictions wiped off the books, but a chance to develop a business before corporations enter the business.
In advocating for the criminals-first policy, NY Pot Czar, Chris Alexander said “These are individuals who come from certain communities. It may have been the case that they were thrown up against the wall, and asked to empty their pockets, and produced a small amount of marijuana, and were saddled with a misdemeanor conviction that has been with them up until 2021.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul added that these first 100 to 200 licenses will create “jobs and opportunity for communities that have been left out and left behind. I’m proud New York will be a national model for the safe, equitable and inclusive industry we are now building.” Hochul plans on giving away $200 million in startup grants and loans for marijuana sellers who are women or minorities, struggling farmers and disabled veterans. While she didn’t say it directly, White men with college degrees and jobs will be excluded.
Looking to build on the popularity of legalizing activities that impacted minority communities, Hochul is pushing to legalize prostitution in New York. Minorities are disproportionately involved in the trade and have been subject to trafficking and abuse. Legalizing the activity would not only help end the trafficking practice but enable minority women to become small business owners.
Hochul is considering giving prostitutes who were convicted of a crime the first licenses for up to 500 legal brothels in the state. She is backing it up with $500 million in grants to help the prostitutes acquire property for the business and for marketing. It is assumed that White men will be excluded from being able to receive tax-payer backed grants.
If these initiatives are successful, Hochul may wipe out the convictions of people convicted of graffiti and giving them lucrative state painting contracts.