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New York State Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Marijuana

The New York state legislature passed a bill to legalize recreational Marijuana and the Governor assured that he will sign it. The Senate voted 40-23 to pass the legislation. The state Assembly voted 100-49 in favor of the bill.

The Empire State will become the 15th state in the country to legalize Marijuana Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that the prohibition of cannabis targeted the people of color with long prison sentences and provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards. He also said that he looks forward to signing the legislation to law.

Black and Latino New Yorkers combined made up 94% of Marijuana-related arrests by the New York Police Department in 2020. The city’s statistics show that the proportion of white New Yorkers using **Marijuana** is higher than that of either Latino or Black residents. Nearly  24% of white residents reported using **Marijuana**, compared with 14% of Black residents and 12% of Latino residents, over the two-year period of 2015-2016.

Cuomo’s office predicts annual tax revenues from legal weed sales could bring $350 million a year and 60,000 jobs to the state when the industry is fully established.The measure allows for possession of up to 3 ounces of Marijuana and 24 ounces as a concentrate and allows for the growth of up to six plants at home. The legislation also creates equity programs to provide loans and grants to people including small farmers who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Police groups and the New York Parent-Teacher Association have openly expressed concern around the bill. The state officials will be launching an education and prevention campaign to reduce the risk of cannabis use among school-age children, and schools will be eligible for drug prevention and awareness programs. The state will also launch a study that examines cannabis’s effect on driving.

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