Cuomo signs bill legalizing adult-use, recreational marijuana in New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Wednesday morning to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in New York and create the second largest recreational marijuana market in the country.

With the governor’s approval of the Marijuana Ordinance and Tax Act NY S854 (21R) /. NY A1248 (21R), Which the legislature clarified on late Tuesday, New York officially joins 16 other states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, which have advocated full legalization. More than two-thirds of the Northeast’s 56 million residents will live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, adding pressure on Washington, DC, to ease state restrictions on the drug.

“This is a historic day in New York – one that will eradicate the wrongs of the past by ending harsh prison sentences, embracing an industry that grows the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizing marginalized communities to keep those who live on Be the first to reap the benefits, “Cuomo said in a statement he made after silently signing the bill.

New Yorkers 21 and older can now legally own and use cannabis. New York pharmacies are not expected to open until at least 2022 under the new regulatory and licensing structure.

State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and Congregation Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the sponsors of the legislation in their respective chambers, also pointed out the historical significance of the law as it went through the legislature hours earlier.

“The last time New York State did something like this was when we lifted the alcohol ban: that was in 1933. Here we are in 2021 – nearly 100 years of marijuana bans – and we’re removing it.” Stokes said during remarks made at the congregation late Tuesday.

Krueger said she was “very proud to have played a role” in what she calls “a nationwide leading model of what marijuana legalization can look like”.

The passage and passage of the bill was a major political victory for Krueger and Peoples-Stokes, who had unsuccessfully pushed for legalization in New York for several years. It’s also a major win for Cuomo, who has had questions over the past few weeks about his ability to pass key laws on allegations of sexual harassment, inappropriate workplace behavior and a cover-up on deaths in nursing homes.

Cuomo, a Democrat, gave up his push for legal cannabis after Covid-19 first hit New York in March last year but promised recreational cannabis in January for his fiscal 2022 budget due Wednesday to make it a top priority. Though the governor had played a huge role in previous failed cannabis negotiations, lawmakers and attorneys tried to take advantage of his newly weakened condition as the budget deadline for fiscal year 2022 approached.

Several supporters of legalized marijuana called for the Krueger and Peoples-Stokes laws to be passed, calling them the “gold standard for legalization.” They argued that Cuomo’s budget proposal was insufficient. also with changes in February how funds are allocated to social justice and what criminal charges for improper sales are enforced or imposed. Meanwhile, the Senate and the Assembly stripped marijuana legalization language from their budget proposals published earlier this month.

The marijuana regulation and tax law that was changed on Saturday after the sponsors and Cuomo’s office struck a three-way deal In connection with the legalization of marijuana, calls for the establishment of an Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the recreational, medicinal and agricultural cannabis markets in New York.

It also sets a 9 percent sales tax on cannabis, an additional 4 percent tax between counties and municipalities, and another tax based on THC content – 0.5 cents per milligram for flowers, 0.8 cents per milligram for concentrated Cannabis and 3 cents per milligram for edible. Forty percent of the excess revenue from sales would be used for reinvestment in communities disproportionately affected by state drug laws, 40 percent for public education, and 20 percent for drug treatment, prevention and education.

The adult-use program, when fully implemented, is expected to generate $ 350 million annually in tax revenue and an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across New York.

Cities and villages would have the option to refuse the use of pharmacies and consumption points for adults in their communities.

The legislation also allows the limited growth of three fully grown and three immature plants. includes equity programs to ensure broad opportunities for participation in the emerging legal industry; End penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis; and calls for the automatic deletion of records for individuals with previous convictions for activities that are no longer criminalized. And it introduces a new set of criminal penalties for the illegal possession and sale of cannabis, and incorporates the impairment of cannabis into violating driving behavior while impaired.

Opponents have warned that the legalization move will increase drug abuse and driving disorder rates. They also raised concerns that New Yorkers under the age of 21 would have easier access to the drug.

Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a vocal critic of the MRTA, pledged to “help cities and towns exercise local control and opt-out rules over the marijuana industry” and “lawmakers who support it to be held accountable “. “”

New York is only the fourth state to pass legislation legalizing recreational activities, joining Illinois, Virginia, and Vermont. Several other states, including New Mexico, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, are also trying to pass adult legalization laws this year.

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly voted for a constitutional amendment in November to legalize recreational cannabis.

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