New York could be next state with legalized recreational marijuana before you know it. New York State Senator Liz Krueger has paired up with State Assembly Member Crystal People-Stokes, with the goal of hosting a public hearing to talk about the piece of legislation that has been drafted recently, called the “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act”. The legislation’s goal is to setup retail marijuana commerce in New York, which would look a lot like what is in place in Colorado and Washington.
The bill Krueger has put together is pretty simple. It would remove the criminal aspects that are connected with marijuana by making it legal for those 21 and over in the state to purchase pot from a retail pot store. This “freedom” for adults would not come without a hefty $50 an ounce tax, in hopes that it would actually discourage residents from buying it legally. But at the same time Krueger said her main goal for legalizing pot is to stop black market sales, and also stop locking up and spending law enforcement resources on non-violent offenders.
The $50 an ounce tax would most definitely also be a benefit to the state in the form of tax revenue. Krueger is not excited about the idea of legalizing pot for recreational use, but she recognizes that prohibiting New Yorkers from using buying, selling and using pot isn’t working either.
Krueger says, “the bill “is not intended as legislation to endorse the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Rather a recognition that decade after decade, we see a significant percentage of Americans who wish to use marijuana recreationally do so. And at least in our state [they] face serious criminal charges from doing so. [They] use the resources of our police, our courts and our jail systems, and cost our taxpayers an enormous amount of money to go through the prosecution of such cases.”
New York has seen huge progress in 2014 when it comes to pot reform. Governor Cuomo gave his approval on the Compassionate Care Act, setting forth the legalization of a statewide medical cannabis program and in just the last month the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio made the announcement that his staff, including the NYPD would uphold the states 40-year-old decriminalization law and would not arrest those adults found with less than 25 grams of cannabis.