New York City Cannabis Dispensary Opens Doors: An Overview of the Legalization of Cannabis

On February 7, 2023, the first New York City cannabis dispensary opened its doors, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, after the state legalized recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older in 2021. This marks a major shift in public perception and policy regulation of cannabis, with 21 states and the District of Columbia now allowing recreational use, and medicinal use legalized in 39 states and D.C. This is evidenced by a 2021 Gallup poll which found that 68% of Americans support legal cannabis.

Further, two recent polls have found that more Americans now support cannabis legalization than tobacco legality, a remarkable turnaround for both substances. In the past decade, a number of initiatives have been taken to change the legal status of marijuana, such as the US House of Representatives voting twice to repeal federal cannabis prohibition and the President granting pardons to thousands of Americans with federal, low-level cannabis convictions.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active chemical in cannabis, and it is responsible for the drug's psychoactive effects. High doses of cannabidiol may increase the effects of THC in edible cannabis products.

While marijuana has been the subject of much controversy, recent developments such as the opening of the first NYC cannabis dispensary, as well as the public's increasingly favorable attitude towards the drug, suggest that the legalization of cannabis is likely to become more widespread in the coming years.