New York has concluded a legal framework to legalise the use of recreational marijuana after state officials reached an agreement on Thursday.
This move will legalise the sale of recreational marijuana and validate cannabis possession for adults aged 21 and older. The New York Times reported that the development could open the pathway for a potential $4.2 billion industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and become one of the largest markets in the country.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters cannabis legalisation has been among his top executive priorities for the state’s upcoming budget, due on April 1.
“We’ve been trying to legalize cannabis for three years. I’ve failed about every year. We’re close, but we’ve been close three times before,” the governor said.
The New York Times further confirmed that the deal would “allow delivery of the drug and permit club-like lounges or ‘consumption sites’ where marijuana, but not alcohol, could be consumed.”
Individuals would also be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use.
The deal, reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers reportedly include a 13 per cent sales tax on cannabis products, 9 per cent of which will go to the state, and the rest to local governments.
The governor’s office estimates the legislation could rake in about $350 million per year once it’s signed into law. The bill would also create a state regulatory agency that will license cannabis growers and retailers.
The lawmakers are expected to vote next week on the bill and may be implemented in 2022. If the legislation is approved, the state will become the 15th in the U.S. to legalise recreational marijuana use.