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New York lawmakers reportedly reach deal to legalize recreational marijuana

Marijuana Legalization
Posted at 1:44 PM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 15:52:41-04

ALBANY, N.Y. – State lawmakers have reportedly reached a deal to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both report legislators are finalizing the bill and it could pass the Democratic controlled legislature as soon as next week.

Along with allowing New Yorkers 21 and over to use marijuana recreationally, the bill would also allow residents to grow the plant for personal use. The Times reports residents could grow up to six plants at home, indoors or outdoors.

State Sen. Liz Krueger told WSJ that the bill would create a regulator for cannabis products and decriminalize the possession of up to three ounces of pot.

Under the legislation, The Times says marijuana products could be delivered and the deal would permit club-like lounges where pot could be consumed, but not alcohol.

The state would also study a new system for determining whether drivers are high, WSJ reports.

Still, even if state lawmakers do pass the bill, not much would change in the short-term. Reports say legal marijuana sales are at least a year away.

Advocates argue there are several benefits of legalization. Along with creating jobs and helping to end racially disproportionate policing of people of color, the potential tax revenue is a big selling point. CNN and The Times report that a 13% tax would be tacked on to retail sales for state and local tax revenue.

Much of the tax revenue would reportedly be reinvested in communities of color, which have suffered mass incarceration for low-level marijuana charges for years.