New York May Finally Legalize Weed

An agreement has allegedly been reached in New York to legalize cannabis use, possession, and sale within the coming week.

New York has battled to legalize cannabis for several years now, and it looks like we may finally see the Empire State join the green rush and legalize the plant.

Speaking with Bloomberg, the Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger said that "the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support."

The bill would legalize the consumption, production, and sale of cannabis for those aged 21 years and above, with a 13% state tax, and an excise tax of up to 3 cents per milligram of THC based upon the potency of the product.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier in the week that New York was close to reaching an agreement on the legislative effort, and will likely be voted upon next week.

"This year we have to get it done, and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential," said Governor Cuomo.

Cannabis is not just social equity, it's also revenue for the state.Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York

Should the bill be passed, cannabis will be available for sale in New York as soon as next year.

Part of the taxes raised from cannabis sales in New York would go toward lifting up people who have been impacted by cannabis prohibition. This goal of correcting the harms caused by the War on Drugs is akin to those of New Jersey, which legalized cannabis earlier in the year.

We predicted that New York would be one of the U.S. states that would legalize cannabis in 2021, largely due to Governor Cuomo's previous support for cannabis legalization over the years.

In an interview at the end of last year, Cuomo stated that "I think this year is ripe [for legalization] because this state is going to be desperate for funding, even with Biden, even with stimulus, even with everything else, we're still gonna need funding and it's also the right policy, so I think we get this done."

Last year, New York expunged prior cannabis convictions and destroyed cannabis-related records, and also stopped testing job applicants for cannabis use.

Cuomo's legalization of cannabis could also be an attempt to alleviate concerns surrounding his leadership, following his controversial decision to place COVID-19 patients in nursing homes, as well as sexual assault allegations leveled toward him.

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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.