New York Legalizes Recreation Cannabis; Expunges Criminal Records


New York officially becomes the 15th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. On top of that, this will expunge the criminal records of New York residents with cannabis-related charges.

Job Growth and Tax Revenue

Roughly 12 hours after the Legislature approved it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation. This will create anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 jobs. It will also generate around $250 million in tax revenue every year, according to Cuomo.

“This is a historic day in New York — one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities, so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The sales tax rate, 14% in total, is broken down into percentages allocated to different parts of the state. 9% goes to the states, 3% to the municipality in which the sale took place, and 1% to the county. The 9% that goes to the state is further broken down. 40% for communities affected by prior drug laws, 40% for schools, and 20% for drug treatment and education.

Details of Legalization

This legalization is going to do great things for the state of New York. Not only will individuals with cannabis-related convictions will get a second chance, but the state will earn a lot of money off of this. Now that the beneficial effects are explained, it’s time to get into what is allowed with this legalization.

Anyone above the age of 21 can legally possess, grow, and consume cannabis. However, it must always stay away from children and be kept in a secure location.

Unfortunately, New York residents can’t grow cannabis for another 18 months. Lawmakers decided to wait a year and a half after the first adult-use sales for recreational cannabis begin.

When that happens, a person can have a maximum of six immature house plants per household. An individual can divvy that up by having three mature plants and three immature plants at a time.

This legalization also establishes an Office of Cannabis Management, establishes a licensing system, and expands its medical cannabis program.

“This legislation is a momentous first step in addressing the racial disparities caused by the war on drugs that has plagued our state for too long,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.  “This effort was years in the making and we have finally achieved what many thought was impossible, a bill that legalizes marijuana while standing up for social equity, enhancing education and protecting public safety.”



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