Most residents in New York State are against granting permits to sell adult-use marijuana to people with past marijuana convictions. According to a poll conducted by Siena College shows that there is a lack of support for the initiative.

Only 33 percent of New Yorkers favor “ensuring that many of the first licenses for marijuana retail stores go to those previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes or their family members,” compared to 54 percent who are opposed and 13 percent who said they aren’t sure.

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The poll involved 804 registered voters in New York between March 20 and March 24, 2022. Upon breaking down the demographics of the people who took the poll shows that New Yorkers are extremely divided:

- 45 percent of Democrats support it
- 50 percent of Liberals support it
- 48 percent of Black people support it
- 52 percent of Latinos support it
- 72 percent of Republicans don't support it
- 74 percent of conservatives don't support it

Only 33 percent of New Yorkers favor “ensuring that many of the first licenses for marijuana retail stores go to those previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes or their family members.

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On March 10, Governor Hochul announced that people with past cannabis convictions will receive the first round of marijuana sales licenses in New York State. New Yorkers with past cannabis-related criminal offenses will be the first to sell marijuana grown by New York farmers. Gov. Hochul describes the move as a way for the state to make amends for past discriminatory cannabis laws,

New York State is making history, launching a first-of-its-kind approach to the cannabis industry that takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past. The regulations advanced by the Cannabis Control Board today will prioritize local farmers and entrepreneurs, creating 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.

The controversial program is called the Seeding Opportunity Initiative. In addition to having been convicted of a marijuana charge, people who take advantage of the initiative also must have a business background.

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