New York Becomes 17th State to Legalize Marijuana

New York has finally joined the list of countries that have legalized cannabis. It is now the 17th state to allow recreational marijuana for adults. On Wednesday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation.

Immediately the possession aspects of the law take effect. All adults 21 and over and can up to 24 grams of concentrates and three ounces of marijuana. Moreover, people previously convicted of crimes related to cannabis will have their records expunged.

That is not all. Furthermore, the retail cannabis stores will open later in 2022.

After the neighboring state, New Jersey recently legalized the plant. The decision of legalization in New York came. Before the April 1 deadline, the lawmakers intended to pass the bill as part of the state budget.

Leafly, in a recent post, talks about the new changes that legalization will bring.

An Unusual Pace

With a strange speed, Cuomo signed the bill into law. The lawmakers voted to pass the legalization bill after so much time. It took three long years of negotiation and struggle.

Everything was unusual. The effect of the bill was also immediate. Usually, when any state legislature passes a law, it takes time to come into effect. It takes about a year or two.

When it comes to cannabis New York has a dismal record of arrest and punishment. It is why the effective now clause came about.

Senators Vs Republicans

For three hours, the senators debated with Republicans. The opposition claimed that the bill is dangerous. It does not represent the wishes of the people of New York.

Everything happened immediately due to the work of legislators. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) and Sen. Liz Krueger (D- Manhattan) made strong demands.

In response during the proceedings, Krueger said that there were endless meetings with anyone who asked us. While working on this bill with my chief of staff, I have met with a diverse group of people, he added.

Racial Discrimination

Despite the fact that the state has legalized marijuana, people still face problems. Every year more than 100,000 New York State residents are arrested.

Furthermore, compared to white people, black residents are 4.5 times more likely to be arrested. This discrimination not only happens in one place but all across the state despite equal consumption rates.

Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, said that he supports the legislation based on racial equity. This bill will go a long way, he thinks.

Cuomo’s Statement

Cuomo said in a statement that for New York, this is a historic day.  It will right all the wrongs of the past. It will put an end to harsh prison sentences.

We are about to embrace an industry that will help grow the economy of the Empire State. Also, marginalized communities will be the priority. The first to reap the benefits will be those who suffered.

Tax Revenue Distribution

Around 60,000 jobs will be available due to the legislation. Moreover, according to the statement, it will generate $350 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

Additionally, it will allocate 9% of the total sales tax rate of 14% for the state. Also, 3% of it is for the municipality and 1% for the county.

Furthermore, 9%, 40% of that is for the communities affected by prior drug wars. Schools will receive 40% and 20% for drug treatment and education.

Cannabis Management

The Office of Cannabis Management will regulate the sale and distribution. It will operate with the New York State Liquor Authority and will be an independent agency. The legislation will create it. 

It will be in charge of the existing medical cannabis programs. Also, it will regulate the recreational cannabis market.

The leaders of the office will be a five-member board. Out of which the governor will select three members. Also, the house of the Legislature will appoint one member.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement that he and his colleagues knew the right way. They knew how important it was to include those targeted and frequently excluded from the process.

Legalization Benefits

Tens of thousands of people will have their criminal records expunged. Furthermore, it will grant 50% of adult-use licenses to small businesses and social equity applicants.

Moreover, there will be equity programs created by the legislation to provide loans and grants. They will be for people and small farmers who have been a victim of the drug wars.

Possession And Consumption

An individual can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. Also, at home, you can grow up to three mature pot plants. However, this is a limit of six per household.

Cannabis delivery and consumption lounges will also be allowed. Customers can be carefree and smoke cannabis in those places. However, an exact date is still not known of when that will happen.

Expansion

Under the new adult-use bill, the state’s limited medical cannabis program will also see expansion. There will be an increase in the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis. Also, we will see an extension in the product options.

Flower products that are not allowed under the current program may be permitted. It means that the patients can purchase and consume smokable flowers.

Senator Krueger’s Words

Sen. Krueger said in a press release that the goal is to end racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition. In the communities of color across our state, it has taken a toll. Moreover, to use the financial benefits of legalization in healing and repairing those communities.

While recording her vote in favor of the measure, Krueger said that an injustice was going on. The lives of young people are getting destroyed for something she did as a kid. Nobody tried to put me in jail or put a gun to my head because I am a nice white girl, she added.

Conclusion

Finally, New York becomes the 17th state to legalize marijuana. Adults over 21+ can purchase and consume it. However, it is essential to keep the limit in mind in order to avoid any problems.

Furthermore, there will be a new agency to license and regulate the industry. Even though the legalization has happened, the sales will start next year.

Moreover, delivery of cannabis products will be allowed. Also, people can hang at cannabis lounges and social consumption sites without worrying. This legalization proves to be very beneficial for the state of New York.

Legalization is becoming common. Many elected officials support legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults. Don’t worry about your state, it may be next in line.

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