New York lawmakers strike deal for legal cannabis
Democrats, who control the New York legislature, have agreed to a measure to legalize marijuana that would make the state the 15th in the country to allow recreational drug use, two say reports Thursday.
The bill, which for years had failed attempts by lawmakers to agree, will establish a regulatory structure to control sales of marijuana, according to CNN, which cited a source in the negotiations and an internal legislative note it has. obtained.
This proposed bill will impose a 13% excise tax on retail sales and potentially allow New Yorkers over the age of 21 to grow plants in their homes, said CNN.
The bill, the terms of which were still under review, could be voted on in the Assembly and the Senate as early as next week, said the New York Times, citing three people familiar with the negotiations.
Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the deal brokered by Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senate Finance Committee chair Liz Krueger, the Times reported. Spokesmen for Cuomo, Peoples-Stokes and Krueger did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.
New York, the fourth most populous state in the country, would join 14 others, including the New Jersey neighbor, which allow recreational marijuana use by adults, according to NORML, which opposes its ban. Most other states have legalized recreational drug use through popular referendums. A total of 36 states allow medical marijuana, said NORML.
In a statement released Thursday, NORML cited studies from the Legal Aid Society and the Drug Policy Alliance showing that New York's marijuana law enforcement has fallen disproportionately on non-whites.
A key element of the state legislator's ongoing deal is to redress the war on marijuana by allocating a large chunk of tax revenue from its sales to non-white communities and reserving sales licenses for business owners. minority, the Times said. "When this bill is finally passed and signed, New York can say that we have finally defeated damaging criminal laws that have done nothing but ruin people's lives."
“For me, it's about more than generating income: it's about investing in the lives of people who have been damaged,” Peoples-Stokes told The Times.
The bill is expected to be considered next week in the National Assembly and the Senate, shortly before the state budget deadline next week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Office of Cannabis Management created in the proposal would report to a five-member board of directors, three members appointed by the Governor and the State Assembly and the Senate, appointing one each. . According to an estimate from the governor's office, legal weed could bring in around $ 350 million in taxes per year, which would be a major boost for the state after the pandemic slashes sales tax revenue collected. by the State of New York.
The marijuana money sadly won't come in time to help close the $ 2,5 billion budget deficit New York faces in the next fiscal year. Sales and taxes on goods would begin as early as a year after the passage of the bill, at which point recreational use and limited personal growth could begin. Tax revenues from the sale of herbs would go first to the activities of the Office of Cannabis Management and to training police officers to detect impaired driving. 40% of the remaining income would go to school aid, an additional 40% would go into a fund establishing grants for social equity, and an additional 20% would go to drug treatment and public education programs.
"We understand the consequences of decades of incarceration of a people which ends up costing us money as a government," Assembly Majority Leader Crystal said. Peoples-Stokes Bloomberg News . Referring to programs assistance to incarcerated persons during the war on drugs that could be funded by legalization, Peoples-Stokes said, “This community reinvestment could reverse all of that dynamic. We could reinvest in people's lives. She added that the bill was designed to allow people who have sold marijuana illegally in the past to have a chance to obtain a legal sales license.
New York becomes 17th state to legalize cannabis for adult use
On March 30, after a day of intense debate at the State Capitol in Albany, the New York Assembly voted 100-49 in favor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, A.1248-A. The vote followed the Senate passing the S.854-A marijuana legalization bill by a 40-23 margin earlier today.
“Today is a day of judgment,” said Latrice Walker, assembly member representing Brooklyn.