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New York has legalized marijuana for adults making it the 15th state to allow recreational marijuana for adults.
Under the new legislation, the state will also expunge the criminal records of people previously convicted of crimes that would be legal under the new law.
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.
“This is a historic day in New York — one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Residents are now allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use, or 24 grams of concentrated forms of the drug, like oils, per The New York Times. While smoking is permitted in public, it is prohibited in schools, workplaces, or inside a car.
The smoking ban in public parks remains in place.
It is estimated that the new legislation could create as many as 60,000 jobs, generating a projected $350 million in annual tax revenue.
A total sales tax rate of 14% includes 9% allocated for the state, 3% for the municipality where the sale is made and 1% for the county. The state will allocate 40% for communities disproportionately affected by prior drug laws, 40% for schools and 20% for drug treatment and education.
“Unlike any other state in America, this legislation is intentional about equity,” Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, the Democratic majority leader in the Assembly who sponsored the bill, said. “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.”