ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WKBW) — New York lawmakers have finalized an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.
The state has come close to passing marijuana legislation several times but until now has been unable to finalize a deal.
New York joins at least 14 other states that allow residents to buy marijuana for recreational, and not just medical, use.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made legalization a priority for his administration this year.
His office has estimated that once a legal marijuana industry is fully mature, it could bring the state about $350 million annually.
The official vote on the bill is expected in the coming days.
"For generations, too many New Yorkers have been unfairly penalized for the use and sale of adult-use cannabis, arbitrarily arrested and jailed with harsh mandatory minimum sentences. After years of tireless advocacy and extraordinarily hard work, that time is coming to an end in New York State," Governor Cuomo said. "Legalizing adult-use cannabis isn't just about creating a new market that will provide jobs and benefit the economy -- it's also about justice for long-marginalized communities and ensuring those who've been unfairly penalized in the past will now get a chance to benefit. I look forward to signing this legislation into law."
"For years I have been working toward legalizing marijuana in a way that ensured a safe product, that we would be able to invest in the lives of people who suffered as a result of mass incarcerations, and to allow us to invest in our communities," Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said. "I have been committed to getting this done correctly and justly. I believe that the MRTA does all of those things."
To read more on the agreement, click here.
To view the legislation, click here.