The New York State Senate voted 40-23 on Tuesday to pass a law legalizing recreational marijuana. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would sign it after reaching an agreement with lawmakers on the framework a few days ago.
The New York State Assembly is also expected to vote on the bill.
If the bill is signed, the Empire State, along with the District of Columbia, will be the fifteenth state in the country to legalize the drug for recreational use.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said he supported legislation based on racial justice. “I think this bill goes a long way. I think there is more to be done but it goes a long way,” De Blasio said aloud WDTV ABC 11.
Black and brown New Yorkers accounted for 94% of marijuana-related arrests by New York police in 2020, although white New Yorkers use marijuana at the same rates.
The move to legalize weeds recently came after the neighboring state of New Jersey legalized the facility. The aim of the legislature was to pass the law as part of the state budget before April 1st.
Legislators debated the measure for three hours in the Senate, with Republican senators claiming the bill was dangerous and not what all New Yorkers would like. Bill sponsor Senator Liz Krueger responded during the process, “We have held endless meetings with everyone who asked us … honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever met such a diverse group of people as in the seven years that my chief of staff and I have worked on this bill. “
Legalization is expected to ultimately generate billions in revenue for the state, and New York City in particular, with a hefty 13% tax that includes a 9% state tax and 4% local tax. The measure also includes a potency tax of up to 3 cents per milligram of THC in the product. This is the natural psychoactive component that provides the famous plant high effects.
An estimate by Cuomo’s office predicts that annual tax revenues from legal weed sales could add $ 350 million a year and 60,000 jobs to the state once the industry is fully established.
The measure allows possession of up to three ounces of marijuana and 24 ounces of marijuana concentrate. The law also provides for the growth of up to six plants domestically and creates equity programs to provide loans and grants to people and smallholders disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
“My goal in implementing this legislation has always been to end the racially diverse enforcement of the marijuana ban that has weighed so heavily on color communities in our state, and to use the economic wind of legalization to heal and repair those same communities to contribute. ” “Kruger said in a press release.
When Krueger recorded her voice for the measure, she said, “I’ve seen such injustices and for young people whose lives have been destroyed because I did something I did as a kid. Nobody put a gun on my head and nobody.” tried to put me in jail for being that nice white girl. “
Some officials are straight request for the bill to fund universal basic income and home ownership programs for communities hardest hit by the drug war.
Rochester, New York Mayor Lovely Warren said: “With marijuana legalization on the horizon, we have the opportunity to legislate locally to make the concept of redress through a UBI and home ownership a reality for Rochester and its families,” reported Rochesterfirst.com.
The bill will clear the criminal records of tens of thousands of people has a goal 40% reinvestment in color communities and granting 50% of adult use licenses to social justice applicants and small business owners. The law also “creates a well-regulated industry to ensure that consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy cannabis”.
The move will also create a cannabis management bureau, which will be an independent agency working with the New York State Liquor Authority. The agency would be in charge of regulating the recreational cannabis market and existing medical cannabis programs. The agency would also be overseen by a cannabis oversight committee made up of five members – three appointed by the governor, one by the Senate, and one by the State Assembly.
Police groups and the New York Parent-Teacher Association have openly expressed concern about the bill.
“Absolute travesty. All of the research submitted shows it is harmful to children and makes the streets less safe,” said Kyle Belopkopitsky, New York State PTA executive director ABC 7 New York reported. “And I have absolutely no idea what lawmakers think when they think they want this to happen now.”
New York officials are launching an education and prevention campaign to reduce the risk of cannabis use in school-age children. Schools will also be eligible for drug prevention and awareness programs. The state will also start a study looking at the effects of cannabis on driving. Whether the study depends on factors such as metabolism or time is due on December 31, 2022.
The bill will also allow municipalities to pass laws banning cannabis dispensaries and licenses to use, with nine months notice after legalization.
Once signed, the facility’s legalization will take effect immediately, but recreational product sales are not expected to begin for a year or two.