New Mexico: Lawmakers Send Marijuana Legalization Measures to Governor's Desk

Clay Curtis
April 1, 2021

NY will join 14 other USA states and the District of Columbia in permitting cannabis use after the bill was backed by both state chambers, where Cuomo's Democratic Party holds strong majorities.

New Yorkers can now possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis under a legalization bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while sales of recreational-use marijuana won't become legal for an estimated 18 months until the state draws up regulations.

Ben Kovler, chief executive officer of Green Thumb Industries Inc, the second largest US pot producer by market value, said his company will allocate "significant dollars" to the NY market - set to be the second largest legal market after California.

According to NY state, legal marijuana sales from dispensaries are expected to begin in 2022.

"New York is NY, (there) couldn't be a bigger deal", Kovler said. 12 with Reps. Andrea Romero and Deborah A. Armstrong, economic projections indicate that adult-use legalization would create more than 11,000 jobs and generate $28.6 million in tax revenue in the first year of implementing a program, which H.B.

Assemblymember Mike Lawler, of Rockland County, said he's skeptical that marijuana sales will bring in almost as much revenue as Cuomo's administration projects: "We talk about revenue, other states have fallen far short of projections". (It's still illegal under federal law to bring it across state lines).

"What cannabis brings and is now proven is tax revenue of a material nature", Kovler said, citing the example of IL, which in February collected more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol.

Cuomo and top Democrats in the Assembly and Senate announced Saturday they reached an agreement to expand the state's existing medical marijuana program, allow individual New Yorkers to grow six plants for personal consumption and set up a licensing and taxation system for recreational sales. "It will have an impact on the way the federal government thinks about legalization", said Nicholas Vita, the CEO of New York-based Columbia Care Inc.

Still, New Yorkers can't smoke or vape marijuana in locations where smoking is prohibited by state law, including workplaces, indoor bars and restaurants and within 100 feet of a school.

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"We applaud the New York Legislature and the tireless work of advocates for their commitment to ending cannabis prohibition through a social justice-centered approach", said Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project.

'We know a lot of adults do use these products safely, they lead highly functional lives, they lead to no severe health outcomes and we need to have a society that doesn't criminalize that type of action and provides support for people who end up having problems with it, ' he said.

Officials say legalizing the drug would help the economy and change police enforcement.

They suggested legalization will encourage kids to use marijuana and will increase impaired-driving crashes, among other concerns. Certain parts of the law go into effect immediately, while other parts could take up to 18 months.

Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat and the legislation's senate sponsor, estimates the total tax rate will come out to about 20%.

Legalization supporters say that it's already easy for young adults to get pot and that there's no clear link between marijuana legalization and traffic accidents.

"The next step is to see how the regulations and the program are stood up to actually provide those opportunities", added Peckham, whose company has four dispensaries around the state.

Illinois, for instance, was touted for the equity provisions in its 2019 law. IL has since revised its process to try to address those issues.

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