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New York becomes 16th state to legalize!

Mar 31, 2021

16th state, cannabis legalization, cannabis regulation, community reinvestment, Connecticut, Delaware, Empire State, equity, expungement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, home cultivation, marijuana legalization, Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), New Mexico, New York, NY, Rhode Island, Tax and Regulate, victory, Virginia


New York just legalized adult-use cannabis! 

Last night, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) received final approval from state legislators, and earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo officially signed the legislation into law, making New York the 16th state to end cannabis prohibition and the third to adopt a legalization policy via its state legislature.

Under the legislation, adults over 21 may possess up to three ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of concentrate, plus adults can grow a maximum of three mature plants and three immature plants once regulations are adopted. Legal possession of up to three ounces is effective immediately. Additionally, the law includes provisions for automatic expungement, community reinvestment, and measures to ensure the industry includes communities that have been disproportionately targeted by cannabis enforcement. Our summary of the MRTA is available here.

We expect this to be a record-breaking year for legalization in state legislatures. Until today, only two state legislatures had ever passed cannabis legalization — Illinois and Vermont, both efforts led by MPP. Now, we may see two legislatures pass legalization this WEEK alone.

  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session, which started yesterday, to finish the job on legalization. During the regular session, the House passed an equitable legalization bill, but the clock ran out before the Senate could. Already, committees have advanced legalization during the special session.
     
  • Today, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam formally recommended the legislature move up legalization of possession and home cultivation to July 2021. (The legislatively passed bill did not legalize possession and home cultivation until 2024.) The legislature will consider his changes — which the speaker supports — on April 7.
     
  • In addition, DelawareConnecticut, and Rhode Island — all of which MPP is heavily involved in — have a real chance of passing legalization legislatively this year.

Adding New York to the list, 38% of Americans now live in a legalization state. But, that means 62% do not, despite more than two-thirds of Americans supporting legalization. We need your help to change that, so please support our work to pass more bills through state legislatures by making a donation today. 

Congratulations to the Empire State on this huge victory, and kudos to all the advocates who worked to make it possible!