New York State officials finalised a deal today to legalise the use of recreational marijuana for everyone aged 21 and above.
Legislators in Albany today struck an agreement with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to allow recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and over, the New York Times first reported.
Three people familiar with the negotiations told the New York Times that the final language of the bill is still being reviewed, but that a bill could pass through the State Legislature as soon as next week.
The move paves the way for a potential $4.2bn industry. Today’s deal would allow delivery of the drug and permit club-like lounges or “consumption sites” where marijuana – but not alcohol – could be consumed.
The deal would also allow a person to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home, indoors or outdoors, for personal use.
According to the New York Times, the deal was crafted with an intense focus on making amends in communities impacted by the war on drugs.
Officials hope the move will help to end years of racially disproportionate policing that saw Black and Hispanic people arrested on low-level marijuana charges far more frequently than white people.
The Governor’s office previously estimated that legalising marijuana could generate about $350m in yearly tax revenue if a programme was fully implemented, which could take years.
If the bill becomes law, New York will join more than a dozen states in legalising recreational marijuana, including Arizona, California and Colorado.