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New York State to Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana legalization would net NY $350M a year.

Lawmakers in New York have come to an agreement on the legalization of marijuana in the state. A new law, if passed, would allow people over the age of 21 to engage in the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

The deal is said to include the licensing of dispensaries and even allowing the home deliveries. People might even be permitted to grow limited amounts of the drug in their own homes.

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This should come as no surprise as recently more American states have either legalized or at least decriminalized the use of marijuana. And both state and local governments are desperate for new revenue streams as the Coronavirus recession has shuttered businesses everywhere. This means less tax money to collect and more expenditures on unemployment and other social welfare benefits.

The Depression is credited with helping to end the era of Prohibition in America. After more than a decade of Prohibition alcohol was again legalized in part because the government needed the tax revenue which no one was paying while drinking illegally.

According to a report in Bloomberg, New York would implement a 13% tax on marijuana sales. Nine percent of the 13 percent tax would go to the state and the remaining 4 percent to local governments. The New York governor’s office estimates that a legal cannabis program in the state could bring in around $350 million annually.

“It is my understanding that the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support,” state Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger told Bloomberg.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference, “This year we have to get it done, and getting it done by the time the budget is passed is essential. Cannabis is not just social equity, it’s also revenue for the state. We’ve been trying to legalize cannabis for three years. I’ve failed every year.”

“We’re close. Close three times before. If we were playing horseshoes, we would be in good shape. But this is not horseshoes. You either get it done and sign a bill, or you don’t,” he added.

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