New York lawmakers reach historic agreement on marijuana legalization law


New York state lawmakers have reportedly entered into an agreement legalizing the sale of marijuana to adults over the age of 21. The final bill would pave the way for retail sales to begin as early as 2022.

The final bill would pave the way for retail sales to begin in 2022.

The assembly’s majority leader, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the second highest Democrat in the chamber, said the bill is expected to be put to a vote next week.

New York lawmakers nearly passed legalization of marijuana several times in the past few years but failed to close a deal. As of 2012, 15 states have legalized adult cannabis. New York’s neighbor New Jersey was officially legalized last month.

What is allowed, what is not

The New York Times reported some details in the final bill this morning. They include:

Allow home-growing with a limit of six plants per household Allow cannabis delivery Allow lounges for cannabis use (non-alcoholic) Create a five-member cannabis governance body to oversee and regulate the industry% Cannabis excise tax on adult products A target of 50% of licenses issued to equity applicants Creating equity programs that include corporate loans, grants, and incubators Investing cannabis tax revenues in communities hardest hit by the war on drugs

Cuomo let go of the tax revenue

The long battle for cannabis tax revenues appears to have been won by lawmakers like Peoples-Stokes, who have insisted that those funds return to the communities hardest hit by the war on drugs. For the past several years, Governor Andrew Cuomo had insisted that his office control tax revenue. Cuomo’s office has estimated that once a legal marijuana industry is fully mature, it could bring the state about $ 350 million annually.

This month, when Cuomo was in real political danger for the first time in his life, the governor may have compromised on this issue for a significant and dramatic legislative gain.

Previous sticking points for legalization in New York included a lack of support from suburban Democrats and concerns about the treatment of drivers suspected of driving high. It remains unclear how an agreement would address driving disruption.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

Show article by Bruce Barcott

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Beth Edmonds