New York on the verge of legalizing recreational cannabis

New York is poised to legalize recreational cannabis next week after state lawmakers finalized language for a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana for people 21 and older.

The proposed legislation, which was introduced on Saturday, days after lawmakers reached an agreement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would include elements of social justice to “redress the heavily discriminatory impact that the application of the ban has had on the communities of color in upstate New York, “he said. State Sen. Liz Krueger, Democrat, in a statement.

“I am very proud that we finally have a … bill to legalize adult cannabis use in a way that brings racial justice to the fore, while balancing safety with economic growth, fostering creating new small businesses and reducing the illegal market significantly, “said Krueger. .

“My goal in bringing this legislation has always been to end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has claimed so many victims in communities of color across our state, and to use the windfall from legalization to help heal and repair those same communities. “

Krueger added that lawmakers could accept the bill next week.

Provisions include dedicating 40 percent of revenue to communities disproportionately affected by the so-called war on drugs, automatic expungement of records of people with prior convictions, and removal of penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis.

The bill would also establish “equity programs” that would provide loans and grants to small farmers and people who have been affected by the war on drugs interested in entering the industry.

“The legalization of cannabis in New York will focus on equity, investment in communities, economic opportunities for historically disadvantaged people, research, education and public safety,” said the Assembly Majority Leader of New York, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Democrat, in a statement. “I am honored to sponsor this legislation and excited to see the positive impact it will have for so many New Yorkers.”

Under the proposed legislation, a Cannabis Management Office would be created. comprising a five-member board charged with regulating and overseeing infant industry, including establishing licensing protocols for growers, dispensaries, and consumer sites.

All cannabis for adult use will undergo laboratory testing before being sold to consumers. The office would also establish a sales tax of 9 percent, a local tax of 4 percent, and an additional tax based on the THC content.

New York residents would be limited to growing three mature and three immature plants per adult with a maximum of six mature and six immature plants per household. Localities would be allowed to opt out of retail sales.

New York’s recreational cannabis market is estimated to be worth $ 4.6 billion by 2023 and $ 5.8 billion by 2027, according to a recent analysis by advisory firm MPG Consulting.

Earlier this year, Cuomo called for the creation of a new Office of Cannabis Management that would oversee recreational use, as well as existing medical use, NBC New York reported. It was his third attempt to push New York toward legalization in as many years.

“For too long, the lives of low-income New Yorkers and communities of color across the state have been ruined by the draconian application of our state’s harmful prohibitionist policies,” said Troy Smit of Empire State NORML in a statement. I hope the New York State Legislature passes this bill. “

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