New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing recreational cannabis for adults and expunging past marijuana convictions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) signed a bill into law on Wednesday allowing for the legal sale and use of recreational marijuana by adults throughout New York.

The historic law will 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. New Yorkers will also be allowed to grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal use.

The bill was first passed by both the Democratic-led state Senate and Assembly on Tuesday. It will take about two years to implement the sale of recreational weed and would set a 9% sales tax on cannabis, plus an additional 4% tax split between county and local government.

The law is expected to bring the state approximately $350 million annually and create thousands of jobs. The law also expunges past marijuana convictions, and a large portion of tax revenue from the sale of pot will be set aside for community reinvestment grants.

“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,” Sen. Liz Krueger (D), Senate sponsor of the bill and chair of the state Senate’s finance committee, said last week.

The governor echoed Krueger’s statement on Tuesday, saying the legalization of marijuana “provides justice for long-marginalized communities.”

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