Marijuana Becomes Legal in New York

Andrew Cuomo has signed marijuana legalization into effect in New York, making it the 15th state in the U.S. to have legalized recreational cannabis.

At the beginning of the year, The Green Fund predicted that three U.S. states would legalize recreational cannabis in 2021: New York, Connecticut and New Mexico.

Well, we're 1/3rd of the way through 2021, and one of our three predictions has come to fruition.

As we've been discussing over the past month, New York has been edging closer to marijuana legalization each week, and when the Senate passed the legalization bill on Wednesday, all that was required was for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the bill into law. Today, he has done exactly that.

"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," said Governor Cuomo about the passage of the marijuana bill.

Effective immediately, New Yorkers over the age of 21 will be able to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis outside of their homes and up to five pounds within their home, as well as being able to smoke cannabis in public in existing smoking areas.

Moreover, those with cannabis convictions will have their cannabis records expunged.

New York will establish the Office of Cannabis Management in order to produce a regulatory framework that covers medical and adult-use marijunana as well as hemp.

The Mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio expressed his satisfaction with the passage of the legalization bill saying:

"Last night the state Legislature made history and acted to right a wrong and legalize marijuana the right way. This is a hugely important moment for the state of New York."

New Yorkers can expect to purchase cannabis in dispensaries within 12-24 months.

As for the rest of our predictions, Connecticut lawmakers approved a bill to legalize marijuana last week, with Governor Ned Lamont (D) saying that "with home grow in the [marijuana legalization] bill, I think the chances [of passing the bill] go from 60/40 to 80/20."

And in New Mexico, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older was passed by the Senate in a 22-15 vote, and will soon be heading to the desk of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for her signature. Gov. Grisham has previously expressed her support for marijuana legalization, making it likely that New Mexico will legalize the plant in the coming months.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.