Mar 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

N.Y. lawmakers pass bill to legalize adult use of marijuana

Marijuana moving illustration

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

New York state lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 and older.

Why it matters: The bill would expunge records for thousands of people who have past marijuana-related convictions. Black and brown people represented 94% of marijuana arrests in New York City in 2020.

  • The state is expected to collect about $350 million in taxes annually, and the newly legalized industry could create between 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs.

What they're saying: "My goal in carrying this legislation has always been to end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has taken such a toll on communities of color across our state, and to use the economic windfall of legalization to help heal and repair those same communities," state Sen. Liz Krueger said.

By the numbers: The Senate passed the bill 40-23 earlier Tuesday and the Assembly approved it 100-49 later in the night.

What's next: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said in a statement Tuesday night he looks forward to "signing this "legislation into law" once it reaches his desk.

  • Once signed, New York would become the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use, CNBC reports.
  • "Once signed, legalization of the plant will be effective immediately but recreational sales are not expected to begin for one or two years," CNBC writes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Cuomo's comments and details of the votes.

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