New York state officials struck a deal over the legalization of marijuana, after Governor Andrew Cuomo called the drug crucial for the social and economic welfare of the state, the New York Post reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. To date, 16 US states have successfully legalised the drug.
A new law expected to be presented as part of a state budget bill will allow adults over 21 to legally purchase and store up to three ounces of the plant for personal use, while licensed sales will reportedly begin in 2022.
Home cultivation will reportedly be permitted of up to a dozen plants per household. According to the newspaper, the agreement imposes a 9-percent excise tax on the plant and it's related products with the possibility of 4 percent supplement for cities, towns and villages, if they agree to allow local cannabis retail operations.
Legalization will inquire the creation of a state regulative body, the Office of Cannabis Management, to license producers and control trade. The regulator would reportedly be run by a five-member board, consisting of three gubernatorial appointees and two others, one selected by the state Senate and one by the Assembly.
New York authorities have yet to definitively show income distribution from marijuana legalization that is expected to support schools, social-equity and healthcare facilities.
The initiative was introduced earlier and was blocked by lawmakers over the past two years, but the legislation will now be approved as marijuana legalization would bring at least $300 million in additional tax revenue annually to the state’s budget.
In 2019, state authorities decriminalized the use of marijuana, making possession of small amounts of cannabis no longer a criminal offense. The law, approved by Cuomo, included a $50 fine for marijuana possession up to one ounce (28.3 grams) and a $200 fine for bigger possession.