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Cuomo signs marijuana legalization bill

Mar 31, 2021 2:00 pm
Denis Slattery reports in the Daily News that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in New York on March 31. Immediately, marijuana possession of less than three ounces is allowed, and consuming cannabis is permitted in public wherever smoking tobacco is allowed. Also, the state is expunging the records of people previously convicted of possession. Retail sales will take about two years to happen in New York, as the regulatory structure is put in place. New Yorkers driving to Massachusetts to purchase legal marijuana, and driving back to New York to eat or smoke it, are still breaking a federal law that prohibits the crossing of state lines with marijuana, according to the Buffalo News. Police can still use the odor of burning cannabis as a reason to suspect a driver is intoxicated, but can’t use smell alone as justification for searching a car. Growing up to six plants will be allowed 18 months after the opening of the first retail dispensaries. Melissa Moore, New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “After years of hard work against long odds, New York has enacted one of the most ambitious marijuana legalization programs in the country. By placing community reinvestment, social equity, and justice front and center, this law is the new gold standard for reform efforts nationwide.” Read more about this story in the Daily News.