New York Cannabis: The Next State to Legalize Marijuana?

New York Cannabis

Back in August, New York decriminalized recreational marijuana. Now, the State is drafting plans to make New York cannabis fully legal.

As it stands, there are 10 US States that have approved recreational cannabis use. Michigan was the latest with its recent November vote.

New York Cannabis: Black Market

It comes down to the black market according to the president of Rochester NORML, Mary Kruger. Her group is working tirelessly to get recreational marijuana approved. In her view: “We’re spending a lot of money right now on the black market and none of it is going back into the community.”

For example, in the UK, legalizing cannabis could bring in £1 billion in taxes for the country. 

But with approval from the New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, and leaders in both the State Assembly and Senate, the only thing that is left to do is formally vote in the state Legislature. So when will this happen? 

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It’s likely going to be addressed when Governor Cuomo gives his 2018 State of the State Address in early January. Here he will also present his budget to the state Legislature.

Copying Nevada

The lawmakers writing the legislation are looking to Nevada’s framework as inspiration

“Nevada has definitely benefited from the implementation in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California,” says Senator Diane Savino.  

So if New York does follow what Nevada has done, its cannabis law would look like this:

  • Legal recreational use for anyone over the age of 21.
  • Sales of one ounce per day.
  • No public consumption or usage while driving or in a vehicle.
  • Employers can still drug test, and landlords can still prohibit usage while inside their dwellings.

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New York Cannabis vs. Nevada Cannabis

But New York has a far greater population than Nevada, so control and regulation will be more of a challenge according to Drug policy experts.

According to Chris Lindsey, Senior Legislative Counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project:

“Nevada is a relatively low population state, so it wasn’t quite a challenge for them to steer the ship…they didn’t have quiet the big bureaucracy to kind of move around. How much are lawmakers willing to set the standard but then leave a lot of the decision making to the agencies versus how much do the lawmakers want to control how the agencies are going to specifically handle types of problems.”

So how will New York roll out a recreational marijuana program and when? We may know in January, but for now, we can fairly guesstimate 2019 for New York cannabis becoming fully legal.

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