New York has become the latest state to legalize marijuana – and in the process immediately created the second-largest legal marijuana market in the country behind California.

According to Politico:

New Yorkers aged 21 and older can now legally possess and consume cannabis. Dispensaries are not expected to open in New York until at least 2022 under the new regulatory and licensing structure.

Among the regulatory structures are the creation of a…

…state Office of Cannabis Management to implement regulations for adult-use cannabis, medical marijuana, and cannabinoid-rich hemp. The new agency would license cannabis producers, processors, distributors, retailers, and other businesses in the industry. The measure also expands New York’s medical marijuana program and authorizes research into the medicinal use of cannabis.

The legislation establishes a 9% state excise tax on retail sales, with another 4% local tax to be shared by county and municipal governments. Local governments would be permitted to opt-out of hosting licensed retailers and cannabis consumption lounges. State cannabis taxes collected would be used to implement and regulate the program, with the remainder dedicated to education, community reinvestment grants, and a drug treatment and public education fund.

Marijuana federalism continues to advance, even as federal prohibition remains in place – and life-long drug warrior Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office.  The House of Representatives, which passed a historic marijuana decriminalization measure in December, only to watch it fail in the Senate, is likely to take up full legalization at some point in the current session.

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