April 1, 2021
That makes New York the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to have legalized the drug for recreational use by adults. Legalization is effective immediately— but legal recreational sales are not expected to begin for one or two years.
According to a press release from Cuomo’s office, the bill establishes the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp. The bill also expands New York State’s existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs.
The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market, and creates a social and economic equity program to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry.
The development of an adult-use cannabis industry in New York State under this legislation has the potential to create significant economic opportunities for New Yorkers and the State. Tax collections from the adult-use cannabis program are projected to reach $350 million annually. Additionally, there is the potential for this new industry to create 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across the State.
He elaborated in a statement Tuesday night after passage of the bill. “For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences; and, after years of hard work, this landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports the legislation on the basis of racial equity. “I think this bill goes a long way. I think there’s more to do after, but it goes a long way,” de Blasio said, according to WDTV ABC 11.
The decision to legalize weed comes after neighboring state New Jersey recently legalized the plant. Lawmakers’ goal was to pass the bill as part of the state budget before the April 1 deadline.
According to CNBC, legalization is expected to eventually rake in billions of dollars in revenue for the state and for New York City in particular, with a hefty 13% tax, which includes a 9% state tax and a 4% local tax. The measure also includes a potency tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the natural psychoactive component of marijuana that delivers the plant’s high.
The legislation also creates equity programs to provide loans and grants to people—including small farmers who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
The bill will expunge the criminal records of tens of thousands of people, has a goal of 40% revenue reinvestment into communities of color, and will grant 50% of adult-use licenses to social equity applicants and small businesses.
The bill also is meant to establish “a well-regulated industry to ensure consumers know exactly what they are getting when they purchase cannabis.”
Research contact: @CNBC