With the stroke of a pen from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York became the 16th state to legalize recreational cannabis on Wednesday. The governor signed the legislation a day after lawmakers passed the law after lengthy debate on the ground while journalists around the world waited in anticipation.
The Senate of the State approved the measureThe Marijuana Revenue and Taxation Act (MRTA) by 40-23 votes, which New York Convention passed 100-49 yesterday.
Adults 21 and over in New York are now allowed to own up to three ounces of recreational cannabis or 24 grams of concentrates. Adults are also allowed to smoke cannabis in public where tobacco smoking is permitted. The catch, however, is that cities and a new government agency could create additional regulations to limit public smoking. Smoking cannabis will of course remain prohibited in schools, at work or in the car.
#BREAKING: I just signed a law legalizing cannabis for adults.
The bill provides for an automatic deletion of previous marijuana convictions that would now be legal.
This is a historic day.
I thank the Chairman and Speaker and the tireless advocacy of so many.
– Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 31, 2021
Several lawmakers welcomed the inclusion of the law in the provision of social justice. “Unlike any other state in America, this legislation is aimed at justice,” said Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, the Congregation Democratic majority leader who sponsored the bill. told the New York Times. “Justice is not a second thought, it is the first and it has to be because the people who paid the price of this war on drugs have lost so much.”
Forty percent of tax revenue goes to disadvantaged communities, and those with cannabis beliefs who are entitled can have their records automatically deleted. The law includes language that will allow people with previous beliefs and those involved in the illegal cannabis market to enter the new legal market.
“These votes are historic because they signal the beginning of the end of the racially discriminatory policies that have long made the Empire State the marijuana arrest capital of the United States, if not the world,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri in a press release. “Once this measure is in place, it will end the practice of arresting tens of thousands of New Yorkers annually for low-level marijuana crimes, the majority of whom are predominantly young, poor and colored.”
Sales of cannabis may not start until 2022 as the state says it will take some time to set its legal framework abc news.