It was only a matter of time for New York, and it is still only a matter of time for the rest of the nation as well.
There is no stopping the legalization of marijuana in the United States at this point. Leaving cannabis a federally-illegal substance has saddled our nation with an unfathomable and unforgivable economic disadvantage on the world’s stage, particularly as both Canada and Mexico have already moved to legalize the plant.
Now, as the nation looks to dig itself out of the fiscal hole dug by the coronavirus, New York State is getting out ahead of the curve.
With the governor’s endorsement of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, NY S854 (21R) / NY A1248 (21R), which cleared the Legislature late Tuesday, New York officially joins 16 other states, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, that have embraced full legalization. More than two-thirds of the northeast’s 56 million residents will live in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, ramping up pressure on Washington, D.C., to ease federal restrictions on the drug.
“This is a historic day in New York — one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Cuomo said in a statement issued after he quietly signed the bill.
The bill hasn’t yet allowed for legal sales of recreational cannabis, however, with that piece of the puzzle said to be coming online in 2022.
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