State legislature to legalize marijuana today

State legislature to legalize marijuana today
File photograph of marijuana plants. (Source: WWNY)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The state legislature is expected to vote today to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in New York state.

The votes follow a three way agreement between Democrats in the Senate, Democrats in the state Assembly and Governor Cuomo over the weekend.

Both the Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on legalization today, and with large Democratic majorities in each, legalization is assured.

After they vote, Governor Cuomo must sign the bill in order to make legalization final.

The first legal marijuana sales are not expected to take place in New York for another year; the state must first put in place the legal structure for growing and selling cannabis, as well as the mechanisms for counting and dividing the profits.

The new marijuana law will wipe clean the slate of people with minor marijuana convictions, and make it legal to possess less than three ounces of the drug.

As for driving while stoned, the new law makes impairment by cannabis an infraction, the lowest degree of Driving While Intoxicated, and spells out that police can use pot odor as a reason to suspect a edriver is intoxicated, but not as justification for searching a vehicle.

Legal marijuana will be heavily taxed. The state will collect a nine percent sales tax, and another four percent sales tax will go to counties and local governments.

Plus, marijuana will be taxed on its strength, and how it is prepared.

Marijuana will be regulated in New York by a five member Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management.

When it is made available for sale, marijuana will be sold through special dispensaries, at marijuana bars, and by delivery.

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