New York Finally Approves Recreational Marijuana for Adults
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign legislation passed late Tuesday night by the Assembly and earlier March 30 by the Senate legalizing recreational marijuana for adults.
The measure allows for the production, sale and use of marijuana for non-medical purposes and for the private cultivation of small numbers of marijuana plants by citizens.
Licensing, taxation and other regulations still need to be put in place and marijuana shops and cafes are not expected for at least a year and a half.
While supporters have touted the economic benefits of a new revenue stream from the marijuana industry, not everyone is happy.
New York Senator Fred Akshar of Binghamton has been a staunch opponent of legal weed and was one of the 23 Senators voting against the bill. The Republican says incidents of increased traffic accidents, crime and youth suicide in areas were marijuana was legalized are evidence of the dangers of the move. He also pointed out the restrictions to keep flavored tobacco and vaping products away from children in New York recently to protect youth but the legal marijuana law allows for gummies, candies, cookies and other edibles that may be accessed, illegally, by children.
New York Attorney General Letitia James applauded the passage, calling the vote “a critical step towards a fairer and more just system” for persons of color who have been “disproportionally impacted by an outdated and shortsighted marijuana prohibition.”