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New York Makes Leap Towards Cannabis Legalization

New York Makes Leap Towards Cannabis Legalization

Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have come to agreements on the continuing saga of legalizing adult-use cannabis. With the recent legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey, many were buzzing about the possibility that New York would be next.

Wednesday’s Agreements

Cuomo and other government officials have agreed there will be a 13% sales tax on adult-use cannabis sales. Within this 13%, 9% of the sales tax would go toward the State and to localities. This would not change the current taxes on medical cannabis. Plans of how exactly the tax money will be divided is still up in the air. 

This deal is going to allow New Yorkers over the age of 21 to possess up to three ounces of cannabis with no fear of legal repercussions. Sources say adult-use non-medical sales are predicted to start happening in late 2022 if the government continues to move forward at this pace. 

A noteworthy addition to the measure would allow for consumers and patients to be able to grow their own plants, allowing up to six per person or twelve per household. This addition is big for cannabis consumers, particularly as New Jersey is currently not allowing homegrow. However, cultivating your own cannabis must be done 18 months after the first dispensary has opened. 

Governor Cuomo said moving towards recreational legalization will benefit New York’s revenue. It is predicted that recreational sales would generate up to $300 million a year. Governor Cuomo has explained that legalizing cannabis should have been a top priority years ago and is currently making it a priority at the moment. Making legalization a priority is not new when it comes to Governor Cuomo’s agenda, will this be the year it finally moves past promises?

With legalization as a top priority many are now wondering what this means for people who have been previously charged for possession. Will the bill include them? Multiple sources have said that some are working to have a portion of the annual proceeds go to low-income neighborhoods, including the neighborhoods who have been subject to higher cannabis arrest and prison sentencing rates. However, there hasn’t been confirmation if the bill will include past and current sentences. 

New York is also moving towards having the state health department develop devices that will test to see if a driver is impaired by cannabis. There is much skepticism over devices like these mentioned but officials think it is necessary to find one that works in order to help with regulation and safety. 

Efforts to expand medical marijuana have also been put into motion. Under the agreements spoke on today, medical cannabis users will be allowed to now get a 60 day supply when in the past they were only allowed a 30 day supply. They will also be allowed to smoke their cannabis. For new patients, the list of qualifying conditions is set to expand. 

Will the new agreements finally move legalization into motion for New York? Will the fight be over or does leaving out the people who are currently incarcerated for the exact circumstances that will now be legal make the fight an even longer one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!