New York state has legalized adult-use marijuana, becoming the 15th state in the country to end cannabis prohibition.
In addition to legalizing recreational cannabis, the legislation that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law last Wednesday will expunge the records of people with a previous marijuana conviction.
“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,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I’m proud these comprehensive reforms address and balance the social equity, safety and economic impacts of legal adult-use cannabis.”
Keep in mind that marijuana sales won’t start immediately, as the state needs time to establish a regulatory framework. The first cannabis sales are expected to begin in 2022.
Under the new law, adults can possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrate and cultivate up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants. Social consumption sites and weed delivery will be permitted.
Tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales will go towards education, a community grants reinvestment fund, and a drug treatment and public education fund. The state estimates that legalizing marijuana will create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs in the state.
New York’s neighbor, New Jersey, legalized recreational marijuana earlier this year.
“We expect 2021 to be a record-breaking year for legislatures legalizing cannabis,” Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “More than two-thirds of Americans believe it’s time to end prohibition and this move represents the latest example of elected officials joining the chorus of support for legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults.”