After much discussion, procrastination, and some postponements partly due to the pandemic as well, New York has proceeded to legalize cannabis for adult use shortly after 10:30 p.m; on Tuesday night.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was prompt to sign the legislation bill into law already on Wednesday morning (Mar 31). With this, New York becomes the 15th state along with the District of Columbia to regulate cannabis for recreational use.
The plant’s legalization is effective as of immediately, so New Yorkers can from today freely smoke their dope without any worry it might land them in trouble with officers. Legal sales, however, will need some time until they take off.
The new law will encompass regulations for the recreational use of cannabis and will also delete the records of people who have wrongfully been charged on the basis of marijuana possession.
“For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences and after years of hard work, this landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
As the Empire State makes a major leap forward, Gov. Cuomo said the new industry would grow the state’s economy and establish safety measure guards for the public.
“New York has a storied history of being the progressive capital of the nation, and this important legislation will once again carry on that legacy,” he added. “I look forward to signing this legislation into law.”
The new law will enable New Yorkers to carry up to 3 ounces of weed. A person has to be over the age of 21 to be able to purchase and use marijuana under legal terms.
Past convicts who have been in trouble with the law for possession of fewer than three ounces of weed will be automatically expunged from the criminal tracking system. This is actually an upgrade from a law two years ago that also erased and reduced small possessions penalties.
For businesses, it means they are now in line to apply for a license so they can freely work and deliver cannabis products to consumers.
According to some estimates, the adult-use legalization of cannabis should bring the Empire State about $350 million annually. Up to 60,000 new jobs will be added to make the industry running statewide.
A 13% sales tax will apply to cannabis-containing products. As the legislation reads, 9% of that will go to the state, and 4% will go to localities.
People from minority communities will also be eligible to apply for loans, grants, and state-funded incubation periods when their business joins the cannabis industry. The same opportunity would also be made valid to small farmers, women, and disabled veterans.
It has taken years for the state’s lawmakers to reach a consensus on the terms under which cannabis is going to be made legal in New York. The voting to legalize has been made possible thanks to a Democrat majority secured in the last elections.
The new legislation came at a time when some cannabis stocks saw an unexpected drop after reports appeared about a federal probe into whether Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries had inadequately influenced domestic politicians in legalizing and licensing cannabis sales.
Green Thumb shares dropped 13% in over-the-counter trading, and other stocks such as Curaleaf Holdings, Cresco Lab, and Truelieve Cannabis were also affected, with a sink of around 5%. It would remain to see how the stocks perform in the next couple of days as the legalization in New York also sinks in.