New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday launched a new statewide campaign to encourage consumers to purchase cannabis from the state’s regulated recreational marijuana market. New York legalized adult-use cannabis in 2021, and regulated sales of recreational marijuana began at the state’s first licensed dispensary in Manhattan in late December 2022.
“To bolster the public health and safety of all New Yorkers, we are providing them with information they need to make informed decisions and enjoy cannabis responsibly,” Hochul said in a statement from the governor’s office. “As we continue to build a healthier and more equitable cannabis market, I am proud to launch this important public education campaign to promote safer, legal purchases of cannabis from licensed dispensaries throughout our state.”
Campaign Launched In Time For 4/20
The new campaign, dubbed “Why Buy Legal New York,” came as the state’s limited number of adult-use cannabis retailers prepared for the legal industry’s first 4/20, the high holiday of weed culture. The initiative focuses on three points including protecting public health, promoting social equity and community reinvestments, and features licensed cannabis operators extolling the virtues of regulated marijuana businesses and their products.
“We are excited to launch this campaign to promote safe and legal purchases of cannabis in New York,” said Tremaine Wright, chairwoman of the New York Cannabis Control Board. “By supporting licensed dispensaries, consumers can be confident that they are getting safe and accurately labeled products while supporting their local communities.”
The mostly digital campaign will attempt to explain the potential risks associated with cannabis from the unregulated market, which does not require products to be lab tested for safety and potency. The ads in the campaign will also highlight how purchasing cannabis from the regulated market supports the state’s social and economic goals for communities across the state of New York. The initiative, which is targeted at cannabis consumers 21 years old, includes educational materials including “The Guide to Safer Cannabis Consumption” and information on how to find legal dispensaries in New York. The campaign’s materials and safe consumption tips are also available online.
“We want to make sure that New Yorkers are informed about the potential risks and benefits of using cannabis,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. “Our goal is to empower consumers to make informed decisions and to ensure they have access to the safest products available. New York has some incredible dispensaries across the state, and I encourage cannabis consumers and the canna-curious to visit these shops and see for themselves.”
PSAs Feature Licensed Cannabis Operators
The Why Buy Legal New York campaign features licensed cannabis operators including Jasmine and King, cultivators focused on the community-centered and wellness properties of cannabis. Howard is a licensed processor focused on modern safety practices and education efforts to produce safer cannabis products, while Damien is a licensed retailer focused on social justice reform and community reinvestment, bringing over five years of experience as a business owner to New York’s regulated cannabis industry. And Eddie, another licensed processor, incorporates his experience from more than five generations of family farming to produce safer cannabis products for the regulated market.
Lyla Hunt, deputy director of public health and education campaigns, said that the Why Buy Legal New York initiative is “critical to educating New Yorkers about the importance of purchasing cannabis legally from licensed dispensaries.”
“These PSAs are designed to offer a striking contrast to the exaggerations and incorrect messaging so many experienced during the prohibition of cannabis. By emphasizing the health and safety benefits of buying legally, we hope to build trust in the regulated cannabis industry and encourage New Yorkers to make informed decisions regarding cannabis consumption,” added Hunt. “This campaign is also an opportunity to address historical harms and promote community reinvestment while providing valuable information about the regulated cannabis space. We are excited to launch this campaign and believe it will make a significant difference in the lives of New Yorkers, supporting a safer and more equitable cannabis industry for all and furthering New York State’s education first approach.”