Lawmakers finalize deal to legalize cannabis
Nick Reisman is reporting for State of Politics state lawmakers have reached an agreement to legalize cannabis products for adult use and to allow residents to maintain a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, according to a report March 24, as lawmakers were finalizing the bill's language. The final measure could be voted on by the state Legislature as early as next week. A three-way agreement between the lawmakers and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office fulfills the efforts of criminal justice reform advocates to legalize marijuana statewide since the full Democratic takeover of the state Legislature. The measure is a significant victory for the country's growing cannabis industry, which is expected to generate billions of dollars in economic activity in the coming years in New York alone. The agreement reached by lawmakers includes stipulations that would encourage small businesses to be able to set up shop. It also includes a social equity fund that is meant to divert some of the revenue generated by marijuana sales to job placement and after-school programs. Lawmakers took three years to reach an agreement. At issue for some were concerns over traffic safety and impaired driving. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins indicated this had been a final roadblock to an agreement. Law enforcement and parent organizations opposed the measure due to safety concerns as well as the potential for children to gain access. Read the full story at nystateofpolitics [dot] com.