NY Legalizes Pot, Immediately
New York City is going to be blazing this weekend.
Apparently, the Northeast has had nothing to do but sit inside and smoke weed or eat edibles for more than a year, and the laws finally caught up.
New York lawmakers passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in the state Senate on Tuesday. Twelve hours later Governor Cuomo signed the bill, ensuring adults over 21 will be able to toke freely in N.Y.
Effective immediately, adults can carry three ounces of cannabis, store five pounds of the stuff at home, and grow up to six plants per person for personal use. The law creates the Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the markets, setting a sales tax of 13%- 9% state 4% county and municipal on the kush. There will also be a tax on THC content and layers of sales taxes that could bring the total above 20%.
Just like in the N.J. legalization- cops can’t stop a car because it smells like skunk. The new regulatory office will be set up over the next six months. Expungement of past convictions will be made easier: two years after the law goes into effect on Wednesday.
In the bill, specific language aims 40% of the new industry’s tax proceeds toward minority communities disproportionately affected by the state’s drug laws.
“By directing new tax revenues to communities like the ones I represent; easing the pathway to enter this business for new and small companies, and ensuring qualified applicants of color have prioritized access, this bill paves the way for a brighter future” 20th district, Brooklyn State Senator Zellnor Myrie said in a statement. “New York’s marijuana legalization framework can be an equitable, responsible, and growth-oriented model for the rest of the country.”
Now, two-thirds of the Northeast’s 56 million residents live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis.
Governor Cuomo, recently under calls to resign for allegations of sexual assault and harassment, said in a statement that it is a historic day for New York. According to the statement, the legislation could create up to 60,000 jobs and generate $350 million in annual tax revenue for the state. Based on the markets’ size in states that have already legalized pot, the N.Y. weed industry could be a $4 billion cash cow.
Some lawmakers were unhappy with the passage of the bill. State Senator George Borrello voted no and said in a statement that the state’s one-party rule was more concerned with appeasing special interests than creating responsible policies. He and other naysayers cited concerns about driving under the influence of marijuana.
“While I am personally opposed to legalization if New York is determined to head down this path,” Borrello said. “I believe we have a responsibility to craft a law that mitigates the risks to New Yorkers to the greatest extent possible, with no loopholes or gray areas. Regrettably, this bill doesn’t meet that standard.”Last modified: March 31, 2021
Kevin Travers was a Reporter at deBanked.