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New York Governor Details Cannabis Legalization Plan

January 16, 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo detailed specifics of his plan to legalize recreational marijuana yesterday in conjunction with his State of the State address.

Cuomo’s proposal would impose a 20% state tax and a 2% local tax on sales of cannabis from wholesalers to retailers, plus a per-gram tax on growers. These rates are higher than Colorado’s 15% rate or neighboring Massachusetts’ 17% state tax and 3% local tax arrangement, but much lower than Washington’s 37% excise tax. The per-gram flat fee is similar to California’s tax of $9.25 per pound of flower grown. Cuomo expects the plan to generate $300 million a year in revenue for the state.

Cuomo proposed that the state create an Office of Cannabis Management to run a program to review and seal past marijuana convictions. Other details, like restricting sales to those over 21 years of age and allowing cities to prohibit dispensaries, are conventional. The plan will be included in Cuomo’s state budget proposal, a final version of which is scheduled to be approved by April 1st.—Danny Sullivan

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