New York State passes law to legalize recreational marijuana
New York State legislature passed a law to legalize recreational marijuana on Tuesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would legally sign it.
New York, along with 14 other US states and the District of Columbia, will allow cannabis use after the law was backed by two state chambers in which Cuomo’s Democratic Party has a strong majority.
“For too long, the cannabis ban has been disproportionately aimed at color communities with harsh prison sentences,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“This landmark piece of legislation provides justice to long-marginalized communities, encompasses a new industry that is growing the economy, and creates significant safeguards for the public.”
Cuomo’s office said the change could generate $ 350 million in additional tax revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs.
The law allows adults 21 and older to purchase cannabis and grow plants for personal consumption at home, with a plan to divert some funds for drug treatment and education.
New York automatically clears records of people with previous convictions for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer criminalized.
The law would also remove penalties for possession of up to three ounces of the drug (85 grams), the new personal possession limit. An existing medical marijuana program would be expanded.
The state plans to tax marijuana sales at nine percent, with revenue from an additional four percent tax being split between local and district governments.
The move comes as Cuomo faces an investigation into an alleged pattern of sexual harassment and intimidation of female workers, as well as allegations that his government orchestrated a cover-up of deaths in nursing homes related to Covid-19.
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