New York Legalizes Cannabis and YouTube Eases Its Cannabis Restrictions, April 2021

In short, adults can now carry and consume cannabis in the state of New York; they can also now monetize YouTube content that “focuses on the purchase, fabrication, or distribution of drugs” in an educational or “non-glorified” way. 

NYC legalizes cannabis and ties in issues of racial equity.

After years of stalled attempts, New York became the 15th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and older. 

While legalization has been on the horizon for quite some time in New York, it was delayed intentionally until the state felt it could adequately address associated racial and socioeconomic disparities stemming from the war on drugs. Previous attempts to legalize cannabis in the state of New York were stymied over disagreements on how the tax revenue from cannabis sales would be distributed, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signing of the cannabis legislation last Wednesday set in motion a program that will reinvest millions of dollars of those tax revenues in minority communities ravaged by America’s war on drugs. 

Under the new law, the state will direct 40 percent of tax revenue from cannabis sales to minority communities, those with disproportionate cannabis arrests.

New Yorkers have wanted a sensible, humane approach to marijuana policy for years.

Medical cannabis has been legal in New York for years. As of December 8, 2017, 38,642 certified patients and 1,358 registered practitioners participated in the state’s medical marijuana program. But New York has been slower to adopt the legalization of general adult use and possession of cannabis, no matter how much some residents may have wanted it as early as Colorado or California. According to a 2017 poll conducted by Emerson College for the Marijuana Policy Project, 62 percent of New York voters favoured making adult-use marijuana legal, with just 28 percent opposed the idea. 

Support and acceptance for both medical and adult-use cannabis in New York have been gradually climbing since. Still, with new legislation that will help to expunge previous cannabis convictions for actions that are now legal—something that disproportionately affects racialized minorities—the pressure to sign cannabis legalization into law in New York must have been explosive.

The new legislation allows consumers of age to purchase cannabis from authorized sellers and possess up to 3 ounces of dry cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. We expect the new cannabis law in New York to serve as an impetus for companies levered to the New York market, and we can’t wait to see what kinds of ingenuity and innovation it brings.

New York legalizes cannabis and YouTube eases restrictions

YouTube takes a chill pill on drug-related content.

On the same day that Gov. Cuomo fully legalized recreational cannabis use, YouTube quietly lifted a few of its restrictions regarding the drug, too.

In a Wednesday update posted to the company’s ad-friendly content guidelines, YouTube announced it would ease up on the monetization restrictions for content dealing with “recreational drugs and drug-related content,” among other topics.

Youtube’s historic unfriendliness toward cannabis-related content seems to have started in about 2018, with some creators finding their channels demonetized or suspended indefinitely. If you subscribed to any of the following cannabis-centric channels, you probably know how it went.

  • Strain Hunters
  • Zamnesia
  • UrbanRemo
  • Cannabis News Network (CNN)
  • Marihuana Televisión
  • Josh Young
  • Cannaweed
  • Dutch Passion
  • Dinafem

The move made many cannabis creators angry and upset with Youtube, causing them to re-establish themselves on channels like Twitch, TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram Live. While YouTube is easing its stranglehold on cannabis content, there’s still a fine line creators have to walk.

As of April, creators in the YouTube Partner Program can start earning ad revenue if their content “focuses on the purchase, fabrication, or distribution of drugs” in an educational or “non-glorified” way. According to these new guidelines, YouTube will run ads from all kinds of advertisers by default, without the advertiser opting to run their ad on cannabis content.

Call us—we’re here to keep you compliant on social media.

Does your cannabis brand use social media, but you’re worried about content being blocked, banned, or demonitized? Call us at +1 (844)-4-WEED-PR or fill out our contact form to book a 15-minute call with someone at Alan Aldous.

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