New York has become the 15th state in America to legalise the recreational use of marijuana after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill.
Some parts of the law went into effect immediately and individuals in the state are now legally allowed to possess up to three ounces (85g) of cannabis for recreational purposes, or 24g of concentrated forms of the drug.
Smoking the drug is permitted in public wherever smoking is allowed in New York, though the practice may be regulated by localities and a new state agency in the future.
#BREAKING: I just signed legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis.
The bill creates automatic expungement of previous marijuana convictions that would now be legal.
This is a historic day.
I thank the Leader and Speaker and the tireless advocacy of so many.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo)
Other aspects of the law are set to go into effect in the coming months as officials set about creating the regulatory framework that will govern its usage. Over time New Yorkers will be able to have marijuana delivered to their homes, grow up to six plants at home for personal use, and consume the substance at specified, lounge-like ‘consumption sites’.
Dispensaries selling the product are expected to become legal in approximately 18 months, though it is possible localities could opt out of allowing such businesses in certain areas.
The law is expected to benefit the economy by generating $350 million in yearly tax revenue and billions of dollars in annual sales, The New York Times reports.
The legalisation of marijuana will also create new businesses and job opportunities, and advocates for criminal justice reform hope it will have a positive impact on the inequities of a system which has seen a disproportionate number of non-white people locked up for marijuana offences.
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