New York Legalizes Marijuana — Potentially a $4.2 Billion Industry for the State, Report Says
New York State lawmakers yesterday finalized the details on a bill to legalize marijuana across the state, The New York Times reports. Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State legislators reached an agreement on Wednesday, as first reported by Bloomberg News.
Legalizing recreational marijuana could create a $4.2 billion industry in the state, creating tens of thousands of jobs, according to The New York Times. New York could be poised to become the largest recreational marijuana market in the country — a market Business Insider projects could reach $77 billion by 2022.
The provisions of the New York legislation include club-like lounges where marijuana could be consumed. These venues would not be permitted to obtain liquor licenses, The New York Times reports. The law would also permit individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use.
The legislation also introduces new criminal penalties for illegal possession or sale of three ounces of cannabis flowers or 24 grams of cannabis concentrate, according to CNN. Possessing or selling more than 10 pounds of either would constitute a Class D felony.
However, even once it’s signed into law, the legislation could take up to a year to put into place. Tasks to be completed prior to the widespread sale of legalized marijuana include:
- Formulating rules for the regulation of wholesalers and dispensaries
- Allocating cultivation and retail licenses
- Creating new taxes for cannabis
- Forming a five-member control board to oversee the blossoming industry
Per the legislation, taxes collected from the sale of marijuana would go to minority communities disproportionately affected by previous laws against the possession of recreational marijuana. “For me, this is a lot more than about raising revenue,” Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes told The New York Times. “It’s about investing in the lives of the people that have been damaged.”
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