New York Moves to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

New York Moves to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

And just like that: New York is set to join the party. 

The cannabis industry is the largest and fastest-growing industry since the 18th century. Economists affirm that the sector will rack in $200 by the end of 2030. However, the sector projections did not foresee states like New Jersey, South Dakota, and Montana legalizing cannabis (this quickly.) Now, we can add New York to the list of recreational weed states. Here’s what we know so far:

Big Apple, bigger buds

Last week, New York State Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger stated that she “believes” a deal legalizing cannabis in New York is on its way to its final stages. The bill imposes a 13% tax on retail cannabis sales in New York in its current form. The funds are distributed on a state and municipal level. The bill also imposes a tax on THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. The bill would allow adults 21 and older to purchase cannabis and cannabis concentrates in New York. This move would make New York one of the largest cannabis markets globally (if done correctly.)

Schumer’s influence on recreational cannabis in New York

In a January interview with retired NBA Star and cannabis business executive Al Harrington, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed his stance on legalizing cannabis on a federal level. After the Georgia runoff election results, Schumer, who is now the Senate Majority Leader, stated that current pro-cannabis legislation is waiting to be heard, likely to be merged into a uniform bill. 

The Senate Majority Leader told Harrington, “I believe in freedom. Let people do what they want. And it became pretty apparent years ago that all these horror stories, you know, ‘legalize marijuana and crime will go up.’ well, states legalized, crime didn’t go up,” Schumer continues, “‘If you legalize marijuana, everyone will become a big druggie.’ That didn’t happen either.”

Schumer also expressed interest in cannabis reform as it plays a significant role in the racial injustices still witnessed today. He stated, “A young man caught with a little marijuana in his pocket, gets arrested, has a criminal record the rest of his life—can’t get a good start, can’t get things done,” he continued. “I decided we should decriminalize it. The time has come.

How the MORE Act ties into New York’s cannabis regulations

The MORE Act has been trying to get enough momentum in Congress to be heard on the house floor for a few years. Also known as H.R. 3884, the MORE Act was initially drafted and sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York. The MORE Act would ultimately find bipartisan support of a whopping 120 cosponsors. 

Summarily, the MORE Act can decriminalize cannabis on a federal level once and for all. Additionally, the act would finally remove cannabis from the list of scheduled I controlled substances. This would allow cannabis to be studied on a federal level. The MORE Act will also force a tax on cannabis at a 5% rate federally. The tax rate is likely to increase to 9% if the bill can make it through the Senate. As more states continue to legalize cannabis, the timeline for the MORE Act’s passing grows shorter and shorter.

New York has a chance to become the 2nd-largest cannabis market in the world (next to Mexico.) Currently, the cannabis culture in New York is severely underwhelming. The laws are strict, and the weed isn’t even good. We could be watching the catalyst of history being made as we speak. Expect more updates on New York’s march to cannabis legalization sooner than later. Maybe even by 4/20?

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