Cuomo Signs Bill Legalizing Recreational Cannabis in New York

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) speaks at an event in the Bronx, N.Y., March 26, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Wednesday to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

New York is now the fifteenth U.S. state that has legalized cannabis usage, and represents a potentially broad market for consumption. Residents will be allowed to smoke pot anywhere that smoking tobacco is allowed, although local jurisdictions may enact stricter rules on where marijuana use is permitted.

The law signed by Cuomo directs 40 percent of tax revenue from marijuana sales toward communities where African American and Latino residents have been “disproportionately” arrested on charges stemming from marijuana use, the New York Times reported.

“Unlike any other state in America, this legislation is intentional about equity,” Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, the Democratic Majority Leader in the state assembly and a sponsor of the bill, said in a floor speech. “Equity is not a second thought, it’s the first one and it needs to be, because the people who paid the price for this war on drugs have lost so much.”

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