New York lawmakers and governor Andrew Cuomo reached an agreement to legalise recreational marijuana, opening the door for a multi-billion dollar industry in the state.
While the legislation was still begin finalised, multiple media outlets report that that “The Cannabis Law” was scheduled to pass next week as part of the state budget due on 1 April.
It may, however, be fast-tracked once language is finalised to be voted on sooner as a stand-alone piece of legislation, lawmakers told The New York Times.
“We will finally be able to say we’re going to have an industry for cannabis that assures people who buy the product that they are buying a legitimate product from legitimate companies,” State Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat who led the negotiations in the upper chamber, told the Times.
The new law, which would apply to New Yorkers over 21-years-old, would make it legal to buy and possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for personal use, with licensed dispensaries to begin selling product legally as early as December 2022, according to anonymous sources quoted in The New York Post.
Residents could grow up to six plants for recreational use (three mature and three immature), and up to a dozen per household, but not until 18 months after legal dispensaries first open, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, which was first to report the new green deal.
Officials are hoping that this will put an end to years of “racially disproportionate policing that saw Black and Hispanic people arrested on low-level marijuana charges far more frequently than white people,” the New York Times reported.