Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of "Why Buy Legal New York," a public education campaign promoting safer, informed, legal purchases of cannabis from licensed dispensaries in New York State. The campaign focuses on three key pillars: protecting public health and promoting social equity, and community reinvestment. Governor Hochul made the announcement alongside the New York State Office of Cannabis Management at CUNY Law School in New York City. The "Why Buy Legal New York" announcements explain and emphasize the potential health risks associated with purchasing cannabis products from unlicensed businesses and why regulated cannabis products are safer. It also outlines how buying legal supports the advancement of New York's social and economic equity goals for communities across the state.
"To bolster the public health and safety of all New Yorkers, we are providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions and enjoy cannabis responsibly," Governor Hochul said. "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."
The primarily digital campaign will target cannabis consumers 21 years old and over and includes various educational materials, such as "The Guide to Safer Cannabis Consumption." These materials will provide information on how to find legal dispensaries in New York and tips on how to consume cannabis safely. Materials are available at: https://cannabis.ny.gov/consumers.
Pictures of advertisements in English are available here, and in Spanish here, and videos of the PSAs in English are available here and in Spanish here. The PSAs will appear on social media, on streaming services, and on transit and place-based advertising across the Empire State.
April 20, commonly known as 4/20, has become a global phenomenon that celebrates cannabis culture and its evolving legal landscape. Initially a protest against cannabis criminalization and the unequal enforcement of drug laws, the day now also marks a victory for advocates who have fought tirelessly to end cannabis prohibition. As we approach this highly anticipated day, it is crucial to reinforce health and safety messages and remind New Yorkers to consume cannabis responsibly by launching the "Why Buy Legal New York" campaign across multiple platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and streaming services, New York State is ensuring that these vital messages reach as many people as possible at a time when awareness around cannabis is heightened.
Tremaine Wright, Chairwoman of the Cannabis Control Board, said, "We are excited to launch this campaign to promote safe and legal purchases of cannabis in New York. By supporting licensed dispensaries, consumers can be confident that they are getting safe and accurately labeled products while supporting their local communities."
Chris Alexander, Executive Director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, said, "We want to make sure that New Yorkers are informed about the potential risks and benefits of using cannabis. 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."
Lyla Hunt, Deputy Director of Public Health & Education Campaigns, said, "Our 'Why Buy Legal New York' campaign 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. 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."
Featured in the "Why Buy Legal New York" campaign are the following licensed cannabis operators:
- Jasmine and King are licensed cultivators focused on the community-centered and wellness properties of cannabis. Now, with 10+ years of family farming experience, they are harvesting cannabis products for communities across the state.
- Howard is a licensed processor focused on modern safety practices and education efforts to produce safer cannabis products for communities across the state.
- Damien is a licensed retailer focused on social justice reform and community reinvestment and brings over 5 years of business owner experience to the new industry.
- Eddie is a licensed processor who brings his experience from 5+ generations of family farming to produce safer cannabis products for communities across the state.
The "Why Buy Legal New York" campaign follows the "Cannabis Conversations" public education campaign Governor Hochul launched in 2022.
New York's Cannabis Law prioritizes public health. It is built on the foundational principles of public safety, social justice, and equitable economic development to remedy the harms inflicted by cannabis prohibition. In support of this policy transformation, the law mandates public health education campaigns to educate New Yorkers on the implications of the new legislation and the potential effects of cannabis use on public health and safety.