New York lawmakers reach deal to legalize recreational marijuana after Cuomo dubs it his ‘top priority’ under tax plans expected to bring in more than $350M annually
- Under the proposed bill, New Yorkers would be able to keep marijuana for recreational use at home, and even grow plants
- Bill is expected to be taken up by the state Assembly and Senate next week
- Taxes on the newly legal industry are expected to bring in around $350M
- Governor Andrew Cuomo had labeled it his ‘top priority’ this year as part of a plan to increase tax revenue
New York state lawmakers have reached an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana for adults after Governor Andrew Cuomo labeled it his ‘top priority’ this year as part of a plan to increase tax revenue.
State Sen. Liz Krueger told Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that legislators were putting finishing touches on a bill that would create a new regulatory agency for marijuana and related products, and decriminalize the possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana by people aged 21 and older.
Under the proposed bill, New Yorkers would be able to keep marijuana for recreational use at home, and even grow a limited number of plants on their properties.
The bill is expected to be taken up by the state Assembly and Senate next week.
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New York state lawmakers have reached an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana
The news came just hours after Cuomo labelled the push for marijuana legalization his ‘top priority’ in this year’s budget talks with lawmakers.
‘This year we have to get it done, and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential,’ he said during his wide-ranging daily press conference.
Cuomo’s latest legalization proposal, which he introduced in January, follows two unsuccessful attempts in 2019 and 2020 to fully legalize marijuana, which both fell short despite Democrats’ 2018 win of both chambers of the Legislature.
In 2019, New York softened some criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and launched a process to automatically expunge the records of thousands of individuals convicted of low-level possession crimes.
Gov Andrew Cuomo has been pushing for marijuana legalization for the past three years and called it his ‘top priority on Wednesday
Democrats won a veto-proof supermajority in November — and supporters are hoping legalization will gain momentum.
Cuomo is hopeful his latest legalization proposal could bring in sorely needed revenue to the state in the form of taxes.
But even supporters of legalization have stressed that New York won’t see any revenue from marijuana legalization for years.
State budget director Bob Mujica estimated earlier this year that it will take ‘several years’ for legalized sales to eventually bring in $300million a year, or possibly as much as $350million.