New York Set To Legalise Marijuana For People Over The Age Of 21
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New York looks all set to legalise marijuana for people over the age of 21.
According to various reports, officials from the Assembly, Senate and Governor’s office have reached a three-way agreement on a bill to legalise the drug fro recreational use.
According to Bloomberg lawmakers have settled on the language used in the bill, which is expected to closely match similar laws from neighbouring states.
State Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger said: "It is my understanding that the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support."
The passing of the bill into law would legalise cannabis for adults aged 21 and over, and would impose a 13% sales tax on the substance with 9% going to the state, and 4% to localities.
According to Bloomberg, licensed distributors would collect an excise duty of up to three cents per milligram of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis), with a 'sliding scale based on the type of product and its potency’ although assurances have been given that no changes will be made to the taxes that currently exist on medical marijuana.
New York residents will reportedly be permitted to buy and possess up to three ounces (85g) of marijuana with the Wall Street Journal reporting they may also be allowed to grow plants for their own personal use.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 US states and three territories have currently legalised recreational marijuana, including Arizona, Colorado, California, Maine, Michigan, Nevada and New York’s neighbouring state of New Jersey.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revised the New York legalisation proposal last month, following a long-running dispute with state lawmakers arguing it did not do enough to address the effect marijuana prohibition takes on minorities.
The governor’s office estimates that legalisation could generate around $350 million revenue a year, with Mr Cuomo promising to set aside $100 million (£73 million) for a social equity fund to help communities hit by marijuana laws through job placement programmes and treatments.
In a press conference this week, Cuomo said marijuana legalisation is a top priority in budget negotiations with officials.
"This year we have to get it done, and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential,” he said.
"Cannabis is not just social equity, it's also revenue for the state."
Cuomo also said that marijuana should have been legalised 'years ago', adding: "We've been trying to legalise cannabis for three years. I've failed every year.
"We're close. Close three times before. If we were playing horseshoes, we would be in good shape. But this is not horseshoes. You either get it done and sign a bill, or you don't."
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