New York Has Deal To Legalize Marijuana
New York State lawmakers reached a deal to legalize marijuana.
Last week, Hudson Valley Post reported marijuana was "extremely close" to being legalized across the state.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said last week a bill to legalize marijuana was at its final stages. The Yonkers Democrat added, "It's a matter of when not if."
On Wednesday, lawmakers reached a deal, Bloomberg reports. Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger told the news outlet that a "three-way agreement has been reached."
Kruger added the bill that all agree on is being finalized.
The deal legalizes marijuana use for adults 21-years and old. The deal also includes a 13 percent sales tax. 9 percent of the sales tax goes to New York with 4 percent going to local governments.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported legal marijuana for a few years, but it has failed to pass. He believes it would have passed in 2020, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic which had lawmakers focused on the pandemic rather than working out the final details on legalizing marijuana.
“I think this should’ve been passed years ago,” Cuomo said last week. “I think too many people have been imprisoned, incarcerated, and punished. Too many of those people are Black, Latino, and poor. It’s exaggerated the injustice of the justice system.”
Legalization is projected to create more than 60,000 new jobs, and spur $3.5 billion in economic activity while generating an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully implemented, officials say.
In January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo promised New Yorkers legal marijuana is coming real soon. He pledged in his State of the State Address to legalize marijuana in New York State by the end of 2020 to help the state deal with a $6 billion budget gap.
In early April, just before the budget was approved, he said it wasn't likely that marijuana would be legalized in 2020. He said legalizing the drug was one of the most complicated issues he has faced and he didn't have the time to work on legalizing marijuana as he dealt with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Last month, Cuomo released some major changes to his proposal to legalize weed across New York State. You can see those changes below.