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New York lawmakers agree to legalize recreational marijuana

Lawmakers agreed late Saturday night to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in New York.

At least 14 other states already allow residents to buy marijuana for entertainment, not just medical use, and efforts to smuggle marijuana in Nariq’s past have failed in recent years. Democrats, who now have a majority against the veto in the state legislature, made it their priority this year. Եւ The administration of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated that the legalization could eventually bring the state $ 350 million a year.

“My goal in enacting this legislation has always been to end the racial misconduct of the marijuana ban, which has done so much damage to all the colored communities in our state, used the economic unexpectedness of legalization to help heal those same communities,” said Senate Finance Sponsor Committee Chairman Senator Liz Krueger.

Legislation will allow the sale of marijuana entertainment to adults over the age of 21, և establish a licensing process for the delivery of cannabis products to customers. Individual New Yorkers may grow up to three mature or three immature plants for personal use, and local governments may refuse to sell.

The legislation will take effect as soon as it is passed, although the sale will not start immediately as New York sets the rules and offers a cannabis board. Majority leader Crystal Pauls-Stokes said Friday that the sale could take 18 months to two years.

Adam Goers, vice president of Columbia Care, a New York-based medical marijuana supplier who is interested in entering the recreation market, said the New York-proposed system would “provide a newcomer to the market” alongside the state’s existing medical marijuana suppliers.

“There’s a big pie in which a lot of different people can be part of it,” Gors said.

New York would impose a 9% cannabis sales tax, plus an additional 4% tax break in the county’s “local government.” It will impose an additional tax based on the level of THC active ingredient in marijuana, from 0.5 cents per milligram for flowers to 3 cents per milligram for food.

New York will lift penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis, automatically delete records of people with a previous conviction for marijuana-related crimes that will no longer be prosecuted. It is a step beyond the 2019 law, which condemned many previous convictions for possession of marijuana and reduced the penalty for having small sums of money.

And New York would provide loans, grants, and incubators to promote the cannabis industry in minority communities, such as small farmers, women, and disabled veterans.

Defenders say the move could create thousands of jobs, begin to address decades of racial injustice in the drug war, which has disproportionately targeted minorities and poor communities.

“The police, the prosecutor’s office, the children’s services, the ICE have used criminalization as a weapon against them. in a statement on Saturday.

Cuomo noted that acceptance of legalization is growing in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, Maine and, more recently, New Jersey.

Previous efforts to legalize leisure recreation have been hampered by a lack of support from suburban Democrats, disputes over the distribution of marijuana sales tax revenues, and questions from drivers suspected of driving heavily.

It has clashed with law enforcement, school and community advocates, who warn that legalization will further hamper the health system already plagued by the coronavirus epidemic and send mixed messages to young people.

“We are in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, with the continuing ‘serious youth crisis’ and the opioid epidemic. This harmful legislation contradicts itself,” said an open letter from the New York State Medical Association to the York-based Parents’ Association of New York. a number of other organizations on March 11.

New York officials plan to launch an education կրթ prevention campaign to reduce the risk of cannabis among school-age children, և schools can receive grants for anti-vapor, drug prevention and awareness programs.

And until 2022. On December 31, the state will also launch a study to discuss the extent to which cannabis disrupts driving, whether it depends on factors such as time and metabolism.

“One of the things that no other country in the world և wants is a quick and easy way to find out if someone has a high or low cannabis drug,” said a psychologist at the University of Buffalo. Behavior Professor R. Loren L. Collins. “Research is being done to find systems that can do this. But I think those efforts will not work for some time. “

The bill segregates revenues from marijuana regulation to drug prevention to cover everyone’s expenses.

The state police may also receive funding to hire and train more so-called “drug recognition experts”.

But there is no evidence that drug experts can say whether someone is high or not, according to Collins, who was appointed to Cuomo’s 2018 task force tasked with developing cannabis regulations.

“I think it is very possible that we approach that challenge using science and research, rather than desires or unsubstantiated claims,” ​​Collins said.

Collins pointed to the American Civil Liberties Union 2020. According to a report, according to FBI statistics, whites are almost four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than whites.

“Every New Yorker should be concerned about how these laws will be enforced or how these driver testing methods will be applied in different communities,” Collins said. “It probably won’t be equal.”

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