The legislation would allow recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21 and set up a licensing process for the delivery
of cannabis products to customers. - AM Costa Rica illustrative photo -
Recreational cannabis, one step closer to legalization
in New York, says report
Published Monday, March 29, 2021
By A.M. Costa Rica wire services
Lawmakers reached an agreement late Saturday to legalize recreational marijuana sales in New York, according to Voice of America Journal, VOA, the U.S. government news agency funded by the U.S. Congress.
According to the report, at least 14 other states already allow residents to buy marijuana for recreational and not just medical use, but New York’s past efforts to pass marijuana legalization have failed in recent years.
Democrats, who now wield a veto-proof majority in the state Legislature, have made passing it a priority this year. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has estimated legalization could eventually bring the state about $350 million annually.
“My goal in carrying this legislation has always been to end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has taken such a toll on communities of color across our state, and to use the economic windfall of legalization to help heal and repair those same communities,” State Senator Liz Krueger, Senate sponsor of the bill and chair of the Senate’s finance committee, said.
The legislation would allow recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21 and set up a licensing process for the delivery of cannabis products to customers. Individual New Yorkers could grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption, and local governments could opt out of retail sales.
The legislation would take effect immediately if passed, though sales wouldn’t start immediately as New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated Friday it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.
Adam Goers, a vice president of Columbia Care, a New York medical marijuana provider that’s interested in getting into the recreational market, said New York’s proposed system would “ensure newcomers have a crack at the marketplace” alongside the state’s existing medical marijuana providers.
“There’s a big pie in which a lot of different folks are going to be able to be a part of it,” Goers said.
New York would set a 9% sales tax on cannabis, plus an additional 4% tax split between the county and local government. It would also impose an additional tax based on the level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, ranging from 0.5 cents per milligram for the flower to 3 cents per milligram for edibles.
New York would eliminate penalties for possession of fewer than three ounces of cannabis, and automatically expunge records of people with past convictions for marijuana-related offenses that would no longer be criminalized. That’s a step beyond a 2019 law that expunged many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduced the penalty for possessing small amounts.
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