New York State politicians have reached an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana usage, Bloomberg first reports. This would make New York the fifteenth state to do so.
Senator Liz Krueger told the publication that lawmakers were finalizing the bill which is set to go before the state Assembly and Senate next week, just before the state budget deadline of April 1. If the final bill is approved, its measures are expected to go into effect in 2022.
Recreational marijuana use for adults aged 21 and up would be legal, and users would be allowed to possess up to three ounces. The new legislation would also allow users to grow cannabis plants in their homes. The state would begin offering dispensary licenses, and marijuana sales would be subject to a 13% sales tax, which the state estimates could generate $350 million in annual revenues.
Bloomberg reports that while tax revenues would first go to covering related business expenses, the rest would be “divided among programs to help people rebuild their lives after marijuana possession arrests; to help neighborhoods; education; and drug treatment.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, a new state agency would issue dispensary licenses for either retail sales or delivery, and marijuana dispensaries could have the ability to let customers enjoy the product in-store.
During a Wednesday press release, Governor Cuomo stated that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana was one of his main priorities, especially as the neighboring states of New Jersey and Massachusetts have already done so. “We’ve been trying to legalize cannabis for three years. I failed every year. We’re close, but we’ve been close three times before.”