The move paves the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry, with millions of dollars in sales tax revenue reinvested in minority communities each year.
New York is poised the join the growing number of states that have legalized marijuana after a deal to allow sales of the drug for recreational use.
State legislators reached an agreement late Saturday to legalize recreational marijuana sales in the state.
At least 14 other US states already allow residents to buy marijuana for recreational and not just medical use.
Democrats who now wield a veto-proof majority in the state legislature have made passing it a priority this year, and Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration has estimated legalization could eventually bring the state about $350m annually in an industry projected to be worth $4bn in the state.
“My goal in carrying this legislation has always been to end the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana prohibition that has taken such a toll on communities of color across our state, and to use the economic windfall of legalization to help heal and repair those same communities,” the state senator Liz Krueger, senate sponsor of the bill and chair of the senate’s finance committee, said.
The legislation would allow recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21, and set up a licensing process for the delivery of cannabis products to customers.
Individual New Yorkers could grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption, and local governments could opt out of retail sales.
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