Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves New York State and The Legalization of Cannabis.
New York will finally legalize Cannabis, after years of failed attempts and stalled efforts. Officials finalized a deal this week to legalize the drug for adults 21 and older and move toward the creation of a potential $4.2 billion industry that could become one of the nation’s largest markets. If the measure is successful, New York would become the 15th state to permit cannabis for recreational use.
The final details of the legislation were still being reviewed as of Thursday, but state lawmakers had reached an agreement with New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo. A bill could pass the Democratic controlled State Legislature as soon as next week. New Yorkers could be allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use. Club like lounges or “consumption sites” where marijuana but not alcohol could be consumed would also be permitted, according to details of the plan obtained by The New York Times.
The police could use the smell of marijuana as a reason to suspect a driver is under the influence, but could not use the odor as the primary justification to search a vehicle. Under the deal, the Health Department would study emerging devices that could potentially allow officers to use a saliva test to detect whether a driver is high.
For recreational purposes, users could cultivate plants at home, indoors or outdoors maximum of twelve plants total per household. They would not be allowed to do so, however, until 18 months after the first adult use dispensary opens. Medical marijuana patients, or their designated caregivers, could also grow the plants, starting six months after the bill becomes law.
Surveys have shown that Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates. And in neighborhoods where people called to make complaints about marijuana at similar rates, arrests were almost always made at a higher rate in the area with more Black residents. Officials hope the deal will help put an end to those disparities. Millions of dollars in tax revenue from sales would be reinvested each year in communities affected by racially disproportionate policing on drugs. A significant portion of business licenses would be reserved for minority business owners. People with marijuana related convictions for activity that is no longer criminalized could have their records automatically expunged.
There is some precedent for such a move: In 2019, more than 150,000 people with some low level marijuana convictions in New York had them cleared from their records.
Cuomo and Democrats in the State Legislature tried several times to legalize marijuana in recent years. But each time, efforts unraveled.
In 2019, the plan for Legalization collapsed as disagreements over how to regulate the industry and how revenue dollars should be controlled, along with hesitation from moderate lawmakers, could not be overcome. Cuomo vowed last and again this year to finally push the bill over the line.The efforts recently gained momentum, however, when they received a boost amid Mr. Cuomo’s recent scandals. Striking a deal for legalization became a higher priority for the governor, several lawmakers and lobbyists believe, as he sought to shift attention away from His situations with sexual Harassment Scandal. The new dynamic prompted Cuomo’s team to concede on many issues they had previously held the line on, such as how the tax revenue would be distributed, leading to a deal that more closely reflected Democratic lawmakers wishes.