New York passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana as Governor Cuomo says prohibition has 'disproportionately targeted communities of color' but cops fear an increase in damage to people's health

 New York state lawmakers passed a bill last night legalizing recreational marijuana, with Governor Andrew Cuomo pledging to sign it into law.

New York now joins 14 other US States in allowing the recreational use of weed after the bill was backed by both of the Democrat-dominated state chambers. 

Cuomo hailed the landmark, claiming: 'For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences.'

However, police chiefs warned that legalization will create a boom in black markets, cause DUIs to soar, and do massive damage to people's health.

Critics of marijuana legalization argue it is a gateway drug and that potent medicinal strains grown with modern technology can cause mental illness including paranoia and schizophrenia.   

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-New York, left, fist bumps Sen. Andrew J. Lanza, R-Staten Island, after her legislation to legalize recreational cannabis passed in the Senate last night

Sen. Liz Krueger, D-New York, left, fist bumps Sen. Andrew J. Lanza, R-Staten Island, after her legislation to legalize recreational cannabis passed in the Senate last night

So far, 33 states have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use and sales. NY joins 14 other states in legalizing its recreational use

So far, 33 states have legalized marijuana in some form, including recreational use, medical use and sales. NY joins 14 other states in legalizing its recreational use

'For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences,' Andrew Cuomo said in a statement

'For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences,' Andrew Cuomo said in a statement

The support for legal marijuana grew from just 12 per cent in 1969 to 68 per cent in 2020

The support for legal marijuana grew from just 12 per cent in 1969 to 68 per cent in 2020

Cuomo dubs legalizing recreational marijuana his 'top priority'
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Cuomo's office has said the change could net an additional $350 million in annual tax revenues and create tens of thousands of jobs.

The law will allow adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis and grow plants for personal consumption at home, with a plan to divert some funds to drug treatment and education.

New York would automatically clear records of people with past convictions of marijuana-related offenses that would no longer be criminalized.

The law would also eliminate penalties for possession of up to three ounces of the drug (85 grams), the new personal possession limit. An existing medical-marijuana program would be expanded.

The state plans to tax marijuana sales at nine percent, with revenues from an additional four-percent tax divided between local and county government. 

Cuomo's statement added: 'This landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public.' 

But the president of the New York State Sheriff's Association yesterday slammed the move saying that legalization would negatively impact people's health and that there remained too many unknowns - including how DUI's would be enforced.

Sheriff Robert A. Maciol said: 'The sheriffs of New York are united in their opposition for the legalization of marijuana.

'We feel strongly by legalizing marijuana, it will be less safe for people’s health and safety. Black markets are exploding and driving under the influence cases are on the rise in other states that have legalized marijuana. Let’s take a step back and learn from other states’ mistakes instead of repeating them.' 

A recreational marijuana smoker lights up in Brooklyn, New York

A recreational marijuana smoker lights up in Brooklyn, New York

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: People make their way in front of a Weed World Store on March 25, 2021 in New York City

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 25: People make their way in front of a Weed World Store on March 25, 2021 in New York City


He said that DUI's would be reduced to a 'traffic infraction' under the legislation.

'The consequences would therefore be equivalent to a parking ticket, and it’s a shocking thing we saw,' Maciol said. 

The top sheriff said that it had been highly frustrating to see the bill pass through the house behind closed doors amid the Covid pandemic without proper open debate being allowed on the issues. 

Cuomo's support for legalization comes as he faces an investigation over an alleged pattern of sexually harassing and intimidating women employees, as well as accusations his administration orchestrated a cover-up of nursing home deaths related to Covid-19. 

New York passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana as Governor Cuomo says prohibition has 'disproportionately targeted communities of color' but cops fear an increase in damage to people's health New York passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana as Governor Cuomo says prohibition has 'disproportionately targeted communities of color' but cops fear an increase in damage to people's health Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:15 Rating: 5

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