Cuomo Paves Way for Pot Delivery When N.Y. Legalizes Marijuana

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released new details about his plans to legalize adult-use marijuana, allowing for delivery and allocating $100 million in tax revenue to communities hardest-hit by anti-drug laws.

Taxing and legalizing marijuana is expected to create 60,000 new jobs, spur $3.5 billion in economic activity and generate an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully rolled out, according to the governor’s office.

Cuomo initially proposed legalizing marijuana in his Jan. 19 budget address. He has 30 days after his announcement to make amendments to his $193.3 billion spending plan for fiscal 2022, which begins April 1.

As part of Cuomo’s proposal to legalize and tax pot, New York would create an $100 million social equity fund to help those harmed by the more than 800,000 arrests over the past decades for marijuana possession, most of whom were people of color. The fund would award grants for job placement programs, adult education, mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, housing, financial literacy and nutrition services, according to the amendment.

Cuomo’s plan also would allow local governments to opt out from delivery services occurring within their jurisdiction.

The amendment also reduces some criminal penalties on the illegal sale of marijuana.

“We know that you cannot overcome a problem without first admitting there is one,” Cuomo said Tuesday in a statement announcing the changes. “Our comprehensive approach to legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also enables us to directly support the communities most impacted by the war on drugs by creating equity and jobs at every level, in every community in our great state.”

Lawmakers will release their own spending plans in the coming weeks, kicking off negotiations that are expected to stretch over the next several weeks. A final budget deal is due by March 31.

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