After years of stalled attempts, recreational marijuana is finally legal in New York State. On Wednesday, March 31st, 2021, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation to legalize recreational weed in New York State.
This makes New York, the 15th state to legalize cannabis and positions itself to be one of the biggest players in the marijuana industry.
What does is mean now that weed is legal in New York State?
First and foremost, it will take time before we see recreational weed dispensaries at the corner of the street. Adults 21 and older can use, smoke ingest or otherwise consume cannabis and other related products.
The newly passed law allows for using cannabis in public spaces thought New Yorkers cannot vape or smoke weed in locations that are prohibited by state law, such as indoor bars, workplace, restaurants, colleges, universities, hospitals and within 100 feet of a school.
Effective immediately, there will be no penalties for public possession of up to 3oz of cannabis or 24g of cannabis concentrates and people can store up to 5lbs of cannabis at home. The bill automatically expungeds record of people with past convictions for marijuana related offenses that would no longer be criminalized.
Adults can cultivate up to 6 plants for personal use, three of which could be mature. A maximum of 12 plants could be grown per household with more than once adult.
But, for those planing to grow recreational weed will have to wait 18 months after the opening of the first dispensary to allow commercial sale of cannabis products to get set up first.
Medical marijuana users can grow medical cannabis at home 6 months after the bill is enacted.
It will take some time before we can legal buy and sell recreational weed as New York State sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board.
A new Office of Cannabis Management would be responsible for regulation the recreational cannabis market as well as the existing medical marijuana and hemp programs and would be overseen by a five-member Cannabis Control Board. Three members would be appointed by the governor, and the Senate and Assembly would appoint one member each.
Weed products would be subject to a state tax of 9%, plus an additional 4% local tax that would be split between counties and cities/towns/villages/ with 75% of the local earning going to the municipalities and 25% to the counties. Weed distributors would also face a THC tax based on type of product, as follows: 0.5cents per milligram for flower, 0.8 cents per milligram for concentrated weed and 3 cents per. milligram for edibles.
Tax revenue from cannabis sales would cover the costs of administering the program. After that, 40% of the remaining dollars would go to a community reinvestment fund, 40% would support the state's public schools and 20% would fund drug treatment facilities and public education programs.
Driving while impaired from weed would remain a misdemeanor. Penalties still apply to people selling illegally without a license. However, you can give weed products to others who meet the legal requirements, though.
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