Marijuana Legalized in New York State

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For New York, this did not come as a big surprise. The legalization of marijuana in the state, which has been controversial for a long time, was rather a matter of time. The law, signed by the governor, allows recreational marijuana to be sold to people over the age of 21 in specialty stores. You can have up to 85 grams of cannabis with you or up to 24 grams in the form of a concentrate.

In private homes, it is allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana bushes per family. New York City Hall was among the first to welcome the decision to legalize recreational marijuana. According to lawmakers, this could help create 60,000 new jobs, and the state budget in taxes will be, at the most conservative estimates, $ 350 million a year. Some of this money will go towards the development of the poorest neighborhoods and communities in the city and state.

New York became the 15th state in the country where not only medical, but also recreational marijuana is allowed. At the same time, local authorities do not expect a cannabis boom and refer to the experience of other states in this matter. For human rights defenders, decriminalizing marijuana is a victory. For several decades, New York was the leader in the number of arrests for even a small amount of marijuana.

“The number of detainees reached 40 thousand people a year. If you study these figures, you will notice that the arrests were mainly of representatives of the African American and other ethnic communities. ”

Tells Anthony Posada, Chief Advocate of the Legal Aid Society:

“If you live in New York and you are black, you were eight times more likely to be arrested for using marijuana than a white person. At the same time, according to statistics, the consumption of marijuana is almost the same among all racial groups. Whites use marijuana in the same way as other races. The question arose as to why certain groups of people were detained ”.

Under state law, those arrested and prosecuted under marijuana-related charges will now be cleared of charges. But legalization does not imply the removal of all restrictions. It will be possible to consume cannabis in private premises with the permission of the owner and in specially designated public places; driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited.

However, opponents of legalization believe that no restrictions will solve the issue and fear the consequences of legalization for adolescents. This position is very actively expressed in the “Association of Teachers and Parents” of the State of New York.

“The law states that marijuana can be used from 21 years of age, but we believe, based on information from states where marijuana is legalized, that children will have more access to it. And the harm from marijuana can be greater as a result of its consumption. We are also worried about driving under the influence of marijuana. It’s forbidden, but how can you track it? ” – says the president of the “Association of Teachers and Parents” of the state of New York Kyle Belokopiski

But advocates of legalization provide their counter-arguments.

“Research in other states where marijuana has been legalized confirms that legalization does not mean chaos on the streets and marijuana consumption becomes uncontrolled or even on the rise,” notes Posada. “The legalization regime for marijuana provides for restrictions and ways to protect children and young people more than a ban when marijuana is truly in an uncontrolled, continuous circulation.”

The passage of the law does not mean that cannabis shops will immediately open on Broadway or Fifth Avenue. Their number will be regulated, and it could take from one to two years to agree on the rules of the recreational marijuana trade, according to state legislators.

New York State authorities promise to strictly regulate the rules for the sale and delivery of cannabis. This will be done by a specially created administration department. 40 percent of sales taxes will be spent on schools and 20 percent on hard drug addiction.

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