iCANconnect and New York’s Cannabis Decriminalization

NY cannabis law

iCANconnect NYC Cannabis Investor Symposium

New York has officially passed cannabis decriminalization just in time for our first investor symposium. Created by the expert team behind CannaTech Global, iCANconnect is a novel cannabis investor networking event bringing Israeli innovation to select locations across the US and Canada.

 iCANconnect’s inaugural event will take place in New York City on September 12, 2019, at the Green Fig restaurant conveniently located in Midtown NYC. Through curated and individualized deep-dive meet-ups with Israel’s highest potential cannabis start-ups, iCANconnect tenders opportunities for quality investors and other stakeholders. 

 iCANconnect is coming to NYC, September 12, 2019
iCANconnect is coming to NYC, September 12, 2019


New York State Cannabis Decriminalization

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the state’s new cannabis law the green-light on August 28. The main statute removes criminal penalties for cannabis possession under two ounces. This will not be considered a misdemeanor, but rather a violation carrying a fine not higher than $200. 

The new law will also implement a process to vacate previous cannabis-related convictions – an important step in mitigating the damages of prohibition. The State Division of Criminal Justice Services has stated that 160,000 people will have their criminal records vacated under the new law, however, the Drug Policy Alliance estimates that this number could be far far higher. 

 “The creation of a mechanism for expungement, both retroactively and forward-looking, is a step in the right direction in finally ending the heavy-handed war on drugs that has decimated communities of color.”

Senator Jamaal T. Bailey

Across the United States, states are legalizing cannabis to different degrees. However, the impact of cannabis prohibition is still being felt.

Cannabis Prohibition and Racial Inequality

Nearly 37% of criminal convictions in the US are for cannabis possession. While the legal cannabis industry is rapidly expanding, with 2018 sales reaching $10 billion, mandatory sentences are still being doled out in prohibitive states. Once convicted of a felony, individuals are barred from many activities – including voting in some cases. 


Black and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs
Black and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs


Prohibition is especially harmful to minority communities. People of color are excessively convicted of drug crimes. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, nearly 80% of Americans incarcerated for drug crimes are black or Hispanic despite making up only 25% of the population. 

This racial disparity was one of the driving factors for New York’s legislative shift. As Governor Cuomo expressed:

“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by-laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all. By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”

The Cost of Cannabis Prohibition

New York’s cannabis decriminalization is a big step in the right direction. The new cannabis law will correct for racial disparity in drug crime enforcement and the subsequent disenfranchisement associated with being a felon, while also dramatically lowering state spending.

The ACLU reports that enforcing criminal drug possession laws costs police $3.6 billion yearly. Removing this burden from state coffers while instead collecting fines will benefit all New Yorkers. Decriminalization will also spare those charged with cannabis possession the cost of defending themselves in court, not to mention the lifetime of lost wages associated with a criminal record. 

Senator Jamaal T. Bailey applauded the law, stating:

 “Marijuana possession gives those convicted a criminal record that will follow them throughout their lives, potentially limiting their access to education, affecting their ability to obtain employment leading to a potential inability to provide for their families. The creation of a mechanism for expungement, both retroactively and forward-looking is a step in the right direction in finally ending the heavy-handed war on drugs that has decimated communities of color.”

Although Governor Cuomo has been pushing for legal adult-use, recreational cannabis has failed to advance in New York. Nonetheless, the new law will go a long way in addressing some of the harms perpetrated by the war on drugs. 

iCANconnect: Connecting Israeli Cannabis Tech with Global Investors

Israel has a long history with cannabis. First approved for medical applications in 1999, for twenty years Israel has been a global leader in cannabis technology and innovation. The liberal regulatory framework and government investment in research contribute to a stable, rapidly expanding and exportable cannabis industry.

As the US moves into the post-prohibition era, Israeli cannabis industry leadership will contribute to the health and growth of the industry. iCANconnect brings the best of Israel to qualified investors and other stakeholders in select locations around the world – and there is no better place to launch than the Big Apple just in time to celebrate cannabis decriminalization.

There’s still time to get your ticket, don’t miss out on this unique opportunity. Just click the link below:


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