Start Spreading the News: Recreational Cannabis is Legal in New York… and New Mexico


We’re all familiar with New York City, that mess of concrete and high rises that holds the largest number of inhabitants of any US city. As a general liberal hotspot, in a generally liberal state, it’s almost surprising it took so long. But it’s finally happened. Recreational cannabis is now legal in New York. But that’s not all. In 24 hours, both New York and New Mexico became cannabis legal for recreational use.

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New York – 19.45 million inhabitants

New Mexico – 2.097 million inhabitants

What’s the news?

On Wednesday March 31, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation officially making recreational cannabis legal in the state of New York. The new bill allows for adult-use, starting at the age of 21, and permits adult residents to have up to three ounces of cannabis, and up to 24 grams of concentrates. Each household will also be able to grow up to six mature cannabis plants, however this does not go into effect until 18 months after sales begin, possibly to get consumers used to buying before allowing them to grow for themselves, which will likely eat into official revenue numbers.

The bill, The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, passed as Senate Bill S854A, with a vote of 40 to 23, and then went on to the Assembly where it passed in a vote of 100 to 49. This vote was done in a late-night session Tuesday night. Cuomo made the following statement Wednesday upon signing: “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.”

The bill is not just meant for the people in New York, but for New York businesses as well. The new legislation creates a licensing system for producers and distributors. It also works to expunge convictions for crimes that would not be crimes anymore under the new legislation. Under the new law, a 13% sales tax will be applied at the point of sale.

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Beth Edmonds