By Quentin Choy
March 31, 2021
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation legalizing marijuana usage for New Yorkers 21 and up. The legislation passed through the New York legislature and will set a 14% sales tax on weed, and projections predict $350 million to be generated annually from the new industry. According to Politico, “the adult-use program is projected to bring in $350 million annually in tax collections when fully implemented, and could create an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across New York.”
This new legislation makes New York the 15th state which allows adults to legally enjoy marijuana. According to Politico, other states including New Mexico, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are also aiming to pass marijuana legalization bills this year.
Legalization of marijuana is a popular issue in the country, with If states continue to legalize marijuana through legislatures and state governments, the U.S. is on the path to having a majority of states with legalized marijuana. The legalization of marijuana in this country is on the same trajectory that legalization of same-sex marriage was in the 2010s which was eventually legalized at the federal level by the Supreme Court. I’m hoping that this pressure is enough to force the hands of Congress into passing legislation to legalize marijuana and can overcome Joe Biden and his drug warrior past.
I believe that Cuomo, who is mired in sexual harassment allegations and the nursing home scandal involving COVID-19, is using an issue as popular as marijuana legalization to boost his approval ratings in an attempt to salvage his political career. I don’t think that this effort will be enough, and frankly, I don’t want his political career to be salvaged. However, I welcome legalization of marijuana and the clearing of criminal records for possession, despite the political motivations and circumstances.
Image Courtesy of Hudson Valley Post.