The New York State Government in the United States has officially decriminalised the sale of recreational cannabis on Thursday, marking an end to decades-long restriction.
New York Times reports that in March 2021, the state legislature passed the first-of-its law to prioritise people that had been affected by the enforcement of marijuana laws to benefit from early business opportunities in the new industry.
But before the new law went into effect in the midafternoon on Thursday, there was no way for consumers to legally purchase cannabis in the state.
It was reported that New Yorkers had lined up in their stretching numbers in several outlets across the city to purchase the newly available recreational cannabis.
A 33-year-old stay-at-home dad, Kenneth Woodin, was in line at the cannabis dispensary in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. After nearly four hours of waiting, Mr Woodin finally landed his hands on the product.
He bought two bags, each containing an eighth of an ounce of smokable flower called Gorilla Glue for about $90.
He told the New York Times that “This is a part of history. I don’t want to feel like being a criminal anymore.”
The mood across dispensaries in New York was lively as people triumphantly celebrated the new freedom, with activists cheering on regulators and lawmakers who gave speeches celebrating the day.
According to projections, the cannabis industry would generate $4 billion in the next five years.
The latest development is part of efforts to finally decriminalise the use of marijuana in the United States, in which people of marginalised communities are mostly victims, especially the black community.
In October this year, U.S. president, Joe Biden, signed an executive order pardoning thousands of people convicted of marijuana possession under federal law, and said his administration would begin proceedings to determine whether marijuana should still be in the same legal category as drugs like heroin and LSD.
Biden also urged governors of different states across the country to do the same.