In #NewYork, #adult-use #cannabis sales are #legalized, following extensive negotiations between the #governor and state lawmakers over details of the legislation. The #Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act advanced swiftly after a deal was reached, passing both the #senate and assembly one day before being signed by #Democrat Governor Andrew #Cuomo. Under the 128-page bill, adults 21 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis, and #cultivate as many as 6 #plants for personal use. The legislation also includes provisions for #delivery and social #consumption sites, the ability for jurisdictions to opt out of retail sales, as well as a 13 percent #tax on marijuana products. The number of business permits will be determined by a new marijuana regulatory body established to oversee the program, with priority licensing for the state’s 10 existing #MMJ operators, and a ban on vertical integration for all those except microbusinesses. Social #equity measures have also been incorporated, such as automatic record expungements for those with past marijuana-related convictions, low-interest #loans for qualifying #business applicants, and tax reinvestment into communities most impacted by the war on drugs. Though the governor compromised on some aspects of the bill, like home cultivation, he succeeded in other areas, like impaired driving remaining a misdemeanor violation. The recently approved policy is expected to significantly aid in New York’s economic recovery following coronavirus-prompted lockdowns, by creating additional tax revenue and a projected 60 thousand new jobs. Recreational cannabis sales could begin as soon as March of 2022 in what industry experts predict could eventually be a 2.5 #billion #dollar market.
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