Empire State on Verge of Legalizing Recreational Cannabis

1.5 min readPublished On: March 24th, 2021By

NEW YORK –  On Wednesday this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York were close to an agreement legalizing recreational cannabis, and that it’s one of New York’s key budget priorities. State Senator, Liz Krueger said she expects lawmakers to vote on the measure as soon as next week.

“It is my understanding 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,” state Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger told Bloomberg Government on Wednesday.

The proposed recreational cannabis tax structure is similar to the one levied on alcohol, Krueger said.

Tax revenue would first go to covering cannabis-related expenses at state agencies overseeing the regulation of cannabis, with the rest divided among programs to help people rebuild their lives after cannabis possession arrests as well as other sensible measures like neighborhood rejuvenation for those areas particularly harmed by the failed ”War on Drugs.”

“We understand the ramifications of decades of incarceration of a people that actually ends up costing us, as a government, money,” Peoples-Stokes said. “This community reinvestment could reverse that whole dynamic. We could reinvest in people’s lives.”

Cannabis use would become legal for adults 21 years old and over.

The deal legislative leaders struck with the Governor includes a 13% sales tax, 9% of which would go to the state and 4% to the localities, Krueger said. Distributors additionally would collect an excise tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, with a sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency. The governor’s office is projecting their legal cannabis program could increase their state tax revenues by $350 million a year, once fully implemented.

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