Marijuana legalization in NY: Timeline, decriminalization, taxes and more to know

Marijuana legalization in NY, NJ

New York lawmakers legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana for most adults in the state.

The Democrat-led Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo released details of the legislation on Saturday.

The measure was voted on by the state Senate and Assembly on Tuesday, and signed into law by Cuomo on Wednesday.

Take a look at what the law includes and how it could impact New Yorkers.

Legal age to purchase marijuana set at 21

The legislation allows recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.

Sellers will have to be licensed by the state

A licensing process will need to be established for the delivery of cannabis products to customers. Local governments can opt out of retail sales in their area.

Residents can grow their own marijuana plants

Individual New Yorkers can grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption, but not right away.

When legal marijuana could be available for purchase

The law went into effect immediately, but recreational sales do not start immediately. The state needs time to establish regulations as well as a cannabis board that will oversee the recreational market. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated it could take 18 months to two years for legal sales to begin.

Decriminalization of marijuana

The law eliminates penalties for possession of less than three ounces of cannabis. Anyone with a past conviction for marijuana-related offenses that are no longer criminalized will have their record automatically expunged.

Help for communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana laws

Under the law, New York will provide loans, grants and incubator programs to encourage participation in the cannabis industry by people from minority communities, as well as small farmers, women and disabled veterans.

Taxes and revenue from legalization

The law sets a 9% sales tax on cannabis, plus an additional 4% tax split between the county and local government. An additional tax will also be imposed based on the level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, ranging from 0.5 cents per milligram for flower to 3 cents per milligram for edibles.

The Cuomo administration estimated legalization could eventually generate about $350 million annually.

The law also sets aside revenues to cover the costs of everything from regulating marijuana, to substance abuse prevention.

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