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New York paves way for legal marijuana

31 Mar 2021. The state Legislature passed a bill that would impose special taxes on marijuana and allow the licensing of dispensaries, reports Bloomberg.

The new legislation would allow home growers to cultivate their own pot as well as cannabis stores to open up as early as next year. It would also mean an automatic expungement of records for people with previous convictions related to marijuana use. The legislation includes a 13 per cent sales tax as well as a distributor excise tax of 3 cents per milligram of THC, which are expected to bring in around USD 350 million a year, reports Bloomberg.

The Senate voted 40-23 for the measure and the bill was cleared by the Assembly with a vote of 100-49 with Governor Andrew Cuomo saying he will sign the bill.

“There were many important aspects of this legislation that needed to be addressed correctly — especially the racial disparities that have plagued our state’s response to marijuana use and distribution as well as ensuring public safety — and I am proud that through strong collaboration, we have reached the finish line,” said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

On the other hand, Republicans were less enthused by the outcome. “This legislation will be a liability,” said state Sen. Mario R. Mattera. “This is a disaster waiting to happen.”