ITHACA, NY – On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially signed law legalizing adult recreational marijuana use. This makes New York the 16th state to take such measures in the USA. At some point in the not-too-distant future, this could mean Ithacans could take a trip to a joint in the House of Commons.
The long-awaited move instantly makes recreational use legal for those over the age of 21 and relaxes laws regarding marijuana possession both inside and outside of a residence (now allowed up to three ounces outside and five pounds inside). It also provides automatic deletion for anyone who has committed a marijuana-related crime that would now be legal under the new law, such as: B. Property Fees, and prescribes conviction in similar cases.
Further guidelines will be consolidated by the Office of Cannabis Management created by the new law. However, for a fuller view of the bill and its immediate implications, check out ex-Ithaca Voice employee Vaughn Golden’s in-depth coverage of The News Station. Cuomo’s office estimates cannabis tax revenue could reach $ 350 annually.
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Municipalities can refuse to open pharmacies within their borders, but must pass a law declaring this before December 31, 2021. You can’t refuse adult legalization.
Ithaca will most likely not be among the communities to opt out, as Mayor Svante Myrick has long been a proponent of marijuana legalization and Tompkins District Attorney Matt Van Houten, who has not returned a request for comment, intentionally failed to enforce marijuana has a high priority for his office during his tenure.
Regardless of local intentions, it will likely be 2022 before a marijuana dispensary opens anywhere in the state, including Ithaca and Tompkins Counties. The bill creates a path to retail licensing for people who want to open pharmacies even though growers and producers cannot own retail locations of their own.
Regarding taxes, the governor’s press office said: “The wholesale excise tax will be moved to the retail level with a state excise tax of 9 percent. The local excise tax rate is 4 percent of the retail price. The districts will receive 25.” Percent of local retail tax revenue and 75 percent go to the community. “
“I think it was inevitable,” Myrick said the day the Cuomo law was signed. “The raid was just about how to reconcile the piece of racial justice. (…) The timing didn’t baffle me.”
Taxes are used to enforce and uphold the law, with 40 percent of the balance going to the education system and 40 percent to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund (for black and brown communities harmed by the war on drugs). and 20 percent will go towards a drug treatment and public education fund.
As Golden noted, progressives among proponents of marijuana legalization had urged it to help communities hardest hit by drug laws in the past few decades.
“I like what the state is proposing with its part of it, and we should try the same locally, which is to invest our three percent of sales tax in programming social justice,” said Myrick. “I think it’s the most advanced program I’ve seen in the country to do this, legalize cannabis and make sure we start making amends for the long history of the ban and the disproportionate impact of the ban on blacks and browns accomplish communities. “
It is still somewhat unclear how this tax money will be distributed and how the state can be held accountable to ensure that marijuana money is properly managed. Myrick noted that, for example, sales tax numbers are not published by the company, but by the municipality. Hence, he is interested to know whether marijuana revenues are treated equally or whether these numbers are segregated (assuming more than one marijuana business is started locally) in order to build a separate fund.
Myrick made it clear that he anticipates it will take roughly 18 months for pharmacies to open in any part of the state, which means that late 2022 could be a more realistic expectation for places to open locally. During this time, the state will likely set the regulatory structure, licensing criteria for retailers, and the number of licenses the state will allow.
“It’s hard for us to get too far ahead of this work until you know the regulatory system. It’s hard to figure it out,” he said. “Our people for economic development in the town hall have contact with people who are interested in being entrepreneurs and setting up small businesses here. Either deliveries or cafes or pharmacies.”
It doesn’t seem like Myrick or the City of Ithaca are planning to regulate where these companies end up as long as they meet the other criteria set by the state.
“They want it to be as convenient as the underground market, which is part of the reason for ending the ban,” Myrick said, adding that penal outcomes affecting mostly marginalized communities are the marijuana ban’s failures and beneficial Tax revenue other reasons for this are legalization. “If you ban legal pharmacies and cafes in hard-to-reach places, you will drive people back to the underground black market. We don’t want that. It’s fine in the heart of the city, and that’s where we are.” We’ll likely see her in the House of Commons, in Collegetown, in the West End. “