New York state Sen. Liz Kreuger has introduced a bill that would legalize the possession, use and sales of limited amounts of cannabis for New York adults.
The bill would legalize the sales of up to two ounces of cannabis to adults 21 and up, but it would also legalize the possession and use of cannabis for all adults 18 and up – including a group of 18- to 20-year-old adults that have managed to be ignored so far in other state legalization measures.
“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” Krueger said in a statement. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars.”
The measure would also tax cannabis at a rate of $50 per ounce. Money collected would go towards regulating the system, with portions also going to substance-abuse programs and job training initiatives.
Kreuger, a Manhattan Democrat, says her bill is aimed at increasing state tax revenue while freeing up police budgets for more serious crimes.
“It will take the market in marijuana away from the criminal enterprises, just as happened when alcohol prohibition was ended,” Kreuger said a press conference yesterday, flanked by Drug Policy Alliance signs and supporters.
Of course, the bill already has opposition from high places including the New York governor’s office, which called the bill a “non-starter” in a statement. And the state Republicans have also resorted to their usual disregard for a real issue by claiming it is a non-issue.
“We’re focused on cutting taxes to create new jobs so families can stay in New York,” Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif told the Democrat and Chronicle. “The Senate Democrats, it would appear, have other priorities.”
Not that legalizing the sale and commercial production of cannabis wouldn’t create any jobs or anything like that.