CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York lawmakers have agreed to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21. The state has come close to passing marijuana legislation in the past but has never been able to actually finalize a deal, until now.
On Sunday, some lawmakers and cannabis supporters say the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, known as the MRTA, will boost the economy and bring 30,000 to 60,000 jobs to the state.
“You’re going to have the businesses and infrastructure set up around cannabis, you’re going to have cultivators, processors, and then you’re going to have manufactures. On the other side, you’re going to see dispensaries opening up in the cities and you’re going to see small businesses being created and hopefully that’s going the create tax revenue for the city of Albany and the surrounding communities,” says Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association.
If passed, the MRTA bill would automatically expunge or resentence anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the new law.
“Not having legalized cannabis has really been a hindrance to our hemp industry and to our small farmers,” says Sen. Michelle Hinchey. Sen. Hinchey is one of the 25 lawmakers sponsoring the bill. She say there has been discussions on the challenges that may arise, like impaired driving. “Law enforcement really has the tools that they need to keep people safe. They can recognize swerving driving and things like that and really be able to hold people accountable. The MRTA absolutely contains language that will keep specifically our drivers and in our community safe,” says Sen. Hinchey.
The bill is expected the pass in the coming days and would take effect immediately, however, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.