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New York’s “Not-for-profit” Dispensaries, Federal Drug Testing May Be to Blame for Truck Driver Shortages, and Full Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced in Kentucky

Flickr @ Rafael Castillo

New York Currently Has a Booming “Gray Market”

Last year, New York legalized cannabis for adult use. However, regulators have not yet awarded any licenses, which has effectively created a “gray market” where cannabis is no longer illegal but there are no licensed dispensaries available. To fill the void, a number of unlicensed dispensaries and vendors have begun selling cannabis. Regulators and lawmakers consider these unlicensed businesses illegal and sent cease and desist letters earlier this month to warn them to stop selling cannabis without a license or face the consequences. But without the threat of actual legal prosecution or arrest, many of these vendors aren’t the slightest bit worried and have no intention of stopping their illegal sales, according to a recent article from Forbes. Many of these vendors feel that they are operating within the letter of the law, as they are not selling cannabis, but instead giving it away in exchange for donations. 

The Truck Driver Shortage and Rising Costs May be Due to Federally Mandated Drug Testing

According to a top analyst for Wells Fargo, the continued federal prohibition of cannabis – and the required testing that comes with it – are the primary cause of the current truck driver shortage and the rising cost of goods. Chris Harvey, who acts as the head of equity strategy with Wells Fargo Strategies, said that federal transportation laws require that truck drivers be tested for THC. And since cannabis is legal in some states but not others, he says a large percentage of the potential workforce is being eliminated simply because of drug testing. To further that point, last year the New York Post reported that 72,000 truck drivers lost their jobs since January 2020 as a result of testing positive for THC. 

Bills to Legalize Cannabis Introduced in Kentucky

Kentucky is not a ballot-initiative state, which means it is up to lawmakers to introduce and legalize cannabis for their constituents. And since the beginning of the year, it seems they have been in talks and making plans to do just that. Several pieces of legislation have been introduced already in 2022 to legalize medical cannabis, recreational, or both. State Representative Rachel Roberts is the primary sponsor for the L.E.T.T.S Grow Bill, which would legalize both medical and adult-use marijuana. She says, “’L’ stands for ‘legalize,’ ‘E’ for ‘expunge,’ ‘T’ for ‘treatment’ because it is a medicine people are asking for, and we set aside funds and perpetuity for treatment facilities, and then ‘tax.’” Roberts thinks that legalizing only one or the other would hold the state back.