• Deanna Clark-Esposito

Is New York Next to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?



Could New Yorkers soon be able to cultivate marijuana at home? They may be able to sooner than expected as support grows for New York State Senator Liz Krueger’s legislation, which includes 11 additional co-sponsors to the bill. First introduced by the senator in 2013, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (S.3040-B/A.3506-B) aims to regulate, tax, and of course, legalize marijuana under a framework that aligns with the regulations governing alcohol.

Amended in 2015 and again in 2017, the current version of the Act reflects an evolution of best practices in marijuana regulation as developed by other states with legalized adult use measures.

With the State Liquor Authority serving as the primary regulatory agency, the bill would, in pertinent part:

- Make the minimum legal age for consumption and possession 21

- Prohibit the sale of marijuana to those 21 and under

- Eliminate penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use

- Permit at home cultivation of up to 6 plants by persons 21 and over

- Permit communities to allow retail sales for on-premises consumption

- Allow communities to, through a referendum process, restrict the retail sale for off-premises consumption

- Establish a taxation scheme, including the assessment of a 15% excise tax and an option for localities to impose an additional 5% tax

- Require all public facilities to abide by the requirements of the Clean Indoor Act

- Funnel a percentage of tax revenues collected to substance abuse programs, re-entry programs and job training programs in high unemployment and low-income communities

Not only providing economic development opportunities and additional revenue for New York State, it is believed that legalization will achieve an increase in the efficient use of law enforcement, a reduction in the market for criminal enterprises, and that it will put an end to discriminatory drug enforcement policies that have been shown to disproportionately impact poor communities and communities of color.

Interested in reading the full bill? Find it at http://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2017/S3040

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