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What Will Legal Cannabis Look Like in New York?

Pot enthusiasts, rejoice: New York has officially legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that made New York the latest state to legalize recreational weed, positioning it to quickly become one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the nation.

The new law ends years of failed attempts to make marijuana legal in the state. It includes provisions to reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenue from selling cannabis into minority communities that were devastated by the war on drugs.

What is now legal

Individuals are now allowed to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for recreational use, or 24 grams of concentrated forms of the drug, like oils.

New Yorkers are permitted to smoke marijuana wherever smoking tobacco is allowed, though localities and a new state agency could restrict where it can be smoked in public. It is still illegal to smoke weed in schools, workplaces or a car, and in New York City it will be banned in parks, beaches, boardwalks, pedestrian plazas and playgrounds, all places where tobacco smoking is forbidden.

What will eventually be legal

Over the coming months, more changes will go into effect.

People will eventually be able to use marijuana at “consumption sites,” have the drug delivered to their homes and cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Dispensaries won’t open until more than a year from now, and localities could opt out of allowing them. (The New York Post reported Wednesday that several mayors on Long Island have already said that they planned to forbid the sale of marijuana in their communities.)

“This is a historic day in New York, one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.


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