After years of failed attempts, New York lawmakers have hashed out a deal to legalize recreational marijuana.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers reached an agreement on the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, which would allow people who are 21 and older to purchase marijuana and grow the plant in their homes, Gothamist reported. It will create an Office of Cannabis Management to implement state regulations, and the bill also has provisions to divert funds to education and drug treatment.
The bill is expected to be approved sometime this week, per the report.
Legalizing pot will bring in some serious green for the state: The move is expected to raise $350 million in taxes annually while creating 30,000 to 60,000 jobs, according to the governor’s office. A state sales tax on marijuana would be 9 percent. Local sales tax would be 4 percent, of which a quarter goes to counties and the rest goes to cities, towns and villages.
While a regulatory framework hasn’t been finalized, legal weed could also help retail landlords fill their empty storefronts. There will be some kind of licensing program allowing for retail facilities that sell marijuana and CBD products.
While many retailers saw their sales plummet during the pandemic, marijuana product sales remained steady in those states where it was already legalized.
Sen. Liz Krueger, one of the bill’s sponsors, told Gothamist in a statement that her goal has been to “end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has taken such a toll on communities of color” across the state, and to use the economic windfall of legalization to help heal those communities.
“When this bill becomes law, New York will be poised to implement a nation-leading model for what marijuana legalization can look like,” she said. [Gothamist] — Akiko Matsuda