Mar 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New York poised to legalize recreational marijuana after officials reach deal

A person smokes a joint.
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New York state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) struck a deal Thursday to legalize recreational marijuana, the New York Times reported.

Why it matters: If approved, the legislation could pave "the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry" and would reinvest millions of dollars in tax revenue from marijuana sales into minority communities each year, according to the Times.

  • "The deal was crafted with an intense focus on making amends in communities impacted by the decades-long war on drugs," including Black and Hispanic communities, the Times noted.
  • Thursday's agreement comes after several failed attempts to reach a deal in the state.

Details: Recreational marijuana use would be legal for people 21 and older, per the Times, which obtained details of the deal.

  • People could cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use.
  • The legislation would also allow for the delivery of cannabis and permit some clubs or "consumption sites" where marijuana could be consumed, according to the Times.
  • Cuomo's office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What's next: New York's Senate and Assembly could take up the legislation as early as next week, per the Times. The terms of the deal are still being reviewed.

  • Yes, but: "If approved, the first sales of legal marijuana are likely more than a year away," the Times' Luis Ferré-Sadurní noted.
    • "Officials must first face the daunting task of writing the complex rules that will control a highly regulated market, from the regulation of wholesalers and dispensaries, to the allocation of cultivating and retail licenses, to the creation of new taxes and a five-member control board that would oversee the industry."

The big picture: If the legislation is approved, New York would become the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use.

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