New York has announced the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. This means that cannabis use would become legal for adults 21 years old and up. They will purchase marijuana, grow the plant in their home, and divert funds to education and drug treatment. Individual New Yorkers could grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption, and local governments could opt out of retail sales.
The state would impose special pot taxes and prepare to license dispensaries under an agreement reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.
The deal calls for a 13% sales tax, 9% of which would go to the state and 4% to the localities. Distributors, additionally, would collect an excise tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. The governor’s office estimates that a legal cannabis program could pull in about $350 million a year once fully implemented, as well as create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs statewide.
Under the bill, 40% of the revenues would go towards education, 40% to community reinvestment grants to communities harmed by the criminalization of drugs, and 20% to drug treatment and public education programs.
Although the legislation would take effect immediately if passed, sales wouldn’t start until New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board.