New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill earlier today legalizing recreational marijuana, and allowing for New Yorkers to possess and use up to 3 ounces of cannabis.
- Recreational marijuana will not become legal for sale; however, for another 18 months. This is to give lawmakers in New York time to create industry regulations.
- The legalization bill passed the Senate with a vote of 40-23, and the Assembly with a vote of 100-49.
As of today, people in New York can possess and use up to 3 ounces of cannabis. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legalization bill into law after it received approval with a Senate vote of 40-23, and an Assembly vote of 100-49.
The sale of recreational marijuana will not become legal for another 18 months or so, giving the state time to create regulations for the industry.
With this legislation also comes the expungement of certain criminal records. The state will begin to automatically expunge the records of individuals with marijuana-related convictions, and police and other law enforcement entities will not be able to arrest individuals for possession of marijuana up to 3 ounces.
This new law also takes it a step further than other states who have legalized, and immediately allows for cannabis use in public places, except for locations prohibited by state law, including schools, hospitals, workplaces, and so on.
Sen. Liz Krueger, who is the bill’s Senate sponsor, estimates that marijuana will have an effective tax rate around 20 to 21%.
“In the beginning, marijuana prices will be higher because there’s less of it available,” Krueger said. “So the tax rate will actually be lower. As market matures and there’s more product in the legal market, the pricing with the tax will average around a 20 to 21% tax rate.”
New York will be setting a 9% sales tax on all cannabis sales, plus another 4% county and local tax, with a modifier depending on the THC content of the product.
Those opposed to legalization argue that this will make it easier to encourage children and young adults to use marijuana, and that it can lead to more traffic accidents resulting from impaired drivers.