New York is officially set to become the 15th state in the country to allow for the recreational use of marijuana as local lawmakers just reached a deal to legalize the drug.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the specifics of the deal would allow state residents that are at least 21-years-old to buy and possess up to three ounces of marijuana and even grow plants for personal use.
The reform, which is set to be adopted as part of the state budget starting April 1, would also call for a 9% state tax on retail sales. In addition to that, cities, towns and villages could potentially ask for a supplementary 4% sales tax. "Distributors additionally would collect an excise tax of as much as 3 cents per milligram of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, with a sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency," reports Bloomberg.
An important note: according to the proposed plan, local governments could opt out of allowing local sales and deliveries.
This isn't the first time that Governor Andrew Cuomo has tried to discuss marijuana legalization. In fact, he included proposals in both his 2019 and 2020 budgets but had to give up on them following disagreements with officials.
The hardships aren't lost on the Governor who, earlier today, during an unrelated briefing, said: "We're close [to a deal regarding marijuana], but we've been close three times before. This year we have to get it done and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential."
According to reports, legalizing cannabis could eventually pull in close to $350 million annually. Although the budget proposal won't officially be approved until the beginning of next month, this is a huge step forward that almost certainly guarantees the complete legalization of recreational marijuana across the state.
Which is to say: you're allowed to celebrate, New Yorkers.
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