New York Inches Closer to Legalizing Recreational Cannabis

New York would be the 16th state, plus the District of Columbia, to legalize recreational marijuana.
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New York is one step closer to legalizing marijuana after a state executive indicated that the governor's office is in favor of a bill currently moving through the state legislature. 

Recreational cannabis would be legal for adults 21 year old and up in New York, and would face a 13% sales tax with 9% going to the state and 4% going to localities. 

“It is my understanding that the three-way agreement has been reached and that bill drafting is in the process of finishing a bill that we all have said we support,” state Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger told Bloomberg Wednesday. 

The move could bring in about $350 million a year in taxes for New York once recreational cannabis is fully legalized.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had been lukewarm on marijuana legalization in the past, said earlier Wednesday that officials were close to a deal.

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A vote on the bill could occur as soon as next week and be passed outside of the state's wider budget, according to Bloomberg. 

New York would be the 16th state, plus the District of Columbia, to fully legalize marijuana after decades of imprisoning people who participated in the cannabis black market. 

Last November, voters in New Jersey and Arizona voted to legalize marijuana. And in December, New Jersey placed a social equity excise tax on cannabis sales in order to address the disparate effect of anti-marijuana laws on communities of color.  

About one in three Americans live in a state with legal sales of recreational cannabis, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.