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New York ‘Scrambling’ To Develop Cannabis DUI Test

As New York hurtles toward the opening of its new legal recreational marijuana market, the state is apparently “scrambling to develop a way to measure when motorists are driving while under the influence of cannabis since there’s no current standard or valid testing.”

This is according to an article in Sunday’s The New York PostAccording to, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration has issued a call for a mechanism to spot weed-impaired drivers.

“With the legalization of adult-use cannabis, there are concerns of increased incidences of driving while impaired after cannabis use,” the New York Department of Health said in a proposal, as quoted by the Post.

“Identifying drivers impaired by cannabis use is of critical importance…..However, unlike alcohol, there are currently no evidence-based methods to detect cannabis-impaired driving,” the memo continued.

The news comes amid budding anticipation for the launch of New York’s first regulated adult-use marijuana retailers. The report states that the Post, New York is expected to award “up to 175 retail licenses to sell marijuana in the coming weeks.”

Hochul last week stated that the state was on course to establish a new cannabis regulatory market by the end this year.

“We expect the first 20 dispensaries to be open by the end of this year,” Hochul told the Advance Media New York editorial board. “And then every month or so, another 20. So, we’re not going to just jam it out there. It’s going to work and be successful.”

Applications for licenses to dispensary adult-use were accepted by the state starting on August 25. Deadline was September 26. New York officials claim that approximately 500 applications were received, with hundreds more being rejected because they are not eligible.

For those who were previously convicted for a marijuana-related crime, the first dispensary licenses are available.

“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,” Hochul said in her announcement of the policy in March. “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.”

Hochul’s predecessor, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the former governor of New York. He signed into law a bill in March 2021 legalizing recreational cannabis. The measure immediately ended the state’s ban on possession, but the regulated cannabis market was slow to get off the ground under Cuomo, who stepped down as governor in August of last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Hochul, who took control of the program, made it a top priority after taking office. Hochul also spoke out in an interview last week with the editorial board.

“Talk about the rollout being jammed up. Nothing had ever happened when I was elected governor. Nothing. It was shut down because there was a battle between the administration and the legislature over who would be the executive director and the chairs of the cannabis review boards,” she said. “So, I was given a lot of credit because within one week, I named people. The things I did were successful. So, when I speak to people about being part of this industry, the first thing they say is ‘thank you.’ Because otherwise we could still be waiting and waiting and waiting, even for the most basic steps to be taken. So we’ve been moving along quickly.”