New York is going to see an increase in public weed use in the next few years. Once dispensaries and consumption sites are open, legislation on smoking and cannabis use will be more heavily enforced.
With the enactment of the MRTA, smoking and vaping cannabis has been added to the Clean Air Act of 1970. In addition to the creation of the EPA, the Clean Air Act authorized comprehensive federal and state regulations to limit emissions from both stationary and mobile causes. Now that cannabis is legal in NY and part of the Clean Air Act, this establishes a baseline on where cannabis can be openly smoked or vaped.
So, Where Can I Consume Cannabis if I’m Smoking It?
Cannabis can be smoked in a private home or at an upcoming licensed consumption site. As for other sites, smoking cannabis is prohibited anywhere smoking tobacco is prohibited. Some places where smoking is banned under this act are workplaces, bars, restaurants, and enclosed indoor areas open to the public.
Other Areas the Clean Air Act Prohibits Smoking in NY:
- Public means of mass transportation (subways, underground subway stations, buses, vans, taxicabs, limousines)
- Workplaces where services are offered to children, including youth centers, detention facilities, childcare facilities, child daycare centers, group homes for children, public institutions for children, and residential treatment facilities for children and youth
- All schools and school grounds
- All public and private colleges, universities, and other educational and vocational institutions
- Hospitals and residential healthcare facilities
- All indoor arenas
In many cities and counties, smoking in public parks and other locations is banned. State parks, on the other hand, are not off-limits if you follow the laws enacted by the MRTA. Typically, smoking in outdoor environmental education programming areas, public gardens, and within 50 feet of buildings also violate the Clean Air Act.
Each county has its own laws regarding where smoking is allowed, and cannabis use also falls under these laws. Places like bus stops are one the gray areas for smoking. You can find more information on your county’s regulations on the official county website.
Where Can I Consume Cannabis if I’m Not Smoking It?
If you are vaping, you must also follow rules outlined in the Clean Air Act. For those who are consuming cannabis by other methods, use your best judgment. While it is legal for adults 21 years or older to consume cannabis, driving while high is illegal and most workplaces will likely enact policies prohibiting use while on the job. You can find more about your rights in the workplace or as an employer on the Office of Cannabis's website. Because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, you cannot use it on federal land, including national parks and national forests.
Where Can I Consume Cannabis in NYS?
Adults can consume cannabis in their homes, whether rented or owned. If you are renting, be sure to read the owner's or rental company's consumption rules. A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a tenant who uses cannabis. Landlords that allow for smoking on the premises must also allow for cannabis consumption.
Places like universities, workplaces, hotels, and vacation rentals can instate their own policies. Hotels may ban the use and possession of cannabis on their properties. You may also not be allowed to use cannabis in the room. Vacation rentals like Airbnb can choose to be cannabis-friendly. You can find them by searching “420 friendly” on their website. Please note that leaving the state or country with any cannabis product is against the law.
What About Consumption Lounges and Bars?
637 municipalities have opted into consumptions lounges, including New York, Buffalo, Yonkers, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. These consumption sites will create a setting for those who cannot smoke where they live or would like to smoke in a social setting.
Remember that when consuming, it is illegal to drive impaired, and consuming on the street can be a risk. Find out more about which counties opted in for consumption here. Consumption sites are not likely to open for another year or two. The first adult-use conditional cultivator licenses were approved on April 14. Other licenses will follow.
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