“For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences and after years of hard work, this landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a news industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public,” the governor said.
He also thanked the legislators who “worked tirelessly on this issue for securing passage of this historic legislation.”
State Senator Liz Krueger, the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, spoke passionately Tuesday evening about the racial inequities of drug enforcement, and the “injustice” of marijuana prohibition “for young people, whose lives were being destroyed, for doing something I did when I was a kid.”
In a press release ahead of the bill’s anticipated passing, the bill’s Assembly sponsor Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said she was “proud” to see the bill pass after so many years of effort.
“We are providing marijuana justice by ensuring investment into the lives and communities of those who suffered for generations as a result of mass incarceration,” Peoples-Stokes said.
Cuomo’s office previously said the development of an adult-use cannabis industry in New York has the potential to create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs and the ability to earn $350 million annually in tax collections.
The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act would add a 13% tax to retail sales for state and local tax revenue, a release from earlier this week said.
The taxes would go to the New York state cannabis revenue fund, with the remainder after costs being split between education (40%), the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund (40%) and the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund (20%).
“Cities, towns, and villages may opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by December 31, 2021 or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. They cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization,” the release said.
CNN’s Lauren del Valle and Jessica Prater contributed to this report.