Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act
New York State Legislature
  • An act in relation to constituting chapter 7-A of the consolidated laws, in relation to the creation of a new office of cannabis management, as an independent entity within the division of alcoholic beverage control, providing for the licensure of persons authorized to cultivate, process, distribute and sell cannabis and the use of cannabis by persons aged twenty-one or older;

    to amend the public health law, in relation to the description of cannabis; to amend the penal law, in relation to the growing and use of cannabis by persons twenty-one years of age or older; to amend the tax law, in relation to providing for the levying of taxes on cannabis; to amend the criminal procedure law, the civil practice law and rules, the general business law, the state finance law, the executive law, the penal law, the alcoholic beverage control law, the general obligations law, the social services law, the labor law, the family court act, and the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to making conforming changes; to amend the public health law, in relation to the definition of smoking; to amend the state finance law, in relation to establishing the New York state cannabis revenue fund, the New York state drug treatment and public education fund and the New York state community grants reinvestment fund; to amend chapter 90 of the laws of 2014 amending the public health law, the tax law, the state finance law, the general business law, the penal law and the criminal procedure law relating to medical use of marihuana, in relation to the effectiveness thereof; to amend chapter 174 of the laws of 1968 constituting the urban development corporation act, in relation to loans to social and economic equity applicants, providing increased drug recognition awareness and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement training, directing a study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving, providing for the transfer of employees and functions from the department of health to the office of cannabis management; to repeal certain provisions of the public health law relating to growing of cannabis and medical use of marihuana; to repeal article 221 of the penal law relating to offenses involving marihuana; to repeal paragraph (f) of subdivision 2 of section 850 of the general business law relating to drug related paraphernalia;

    and to repeal certain provisions of the penal law relating to making conforming changes
CitationChapter 92 of the Laws of 2021
Territorial extentNew York
Enacted byNew York State Legislature
EnactedMarch 31, 2021
Legislative history
Bill citationS854-A of 2021-2022
Introduced bySenator Liz Krueger and Assemblyperson Crystal Peoples-Stokes
IntroducedJanuary 2021
Status: In force

The Cannabis Law legalizes recreational cannabis in New York. It is chapter 7-A of the Consolidated Laws of New York, and was originally enacted by the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act on March 31, 2021 but has since been amended.


A version of the bill was introduced by state senator Liz Krueger in December, 2013.[1][2] In January, 2018, the New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Health, and Alcohol and Drug Abuse opened public hearings on a reintroduced bill.[3] Testimony at the hearings came from those who thought the law would endorse a gateway drug, and those who thought it would decrease opioid abuse.[4] The bill "stalled" in April, without sufficient Senate support, and was not included in the acts for the annual state budget.[5] A new bill (A1617/S1527) was introduced in mid May.[6] The May 31 passage of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the first legalization and regulatory system entirely enacted by a state legislature,[7] was said by a cannabis industry executive to have the potential to "pave the way" for legislation in Northeast states like New York and New Jersey.[8] The bill did not receive a vote by the end of the session in June, 2019.[9] Attempts to pursue legalization during the 2020 session were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was reintroduced in January 2021 as A1248/S854 by Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.[10][11] A competitive proposal, the New York Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act was proposed by the state governor on January 19, 2021 as part of the state budget.[12] On March 24–25, 2021, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that an agreement had been reached between the legislature and the governor to adopt the bill and remove the similar measure from the governor's budget proposal.[13][14] On March 28, the Associated Press said the bill would become law in days.[15] The bill cleared the Senate finance and rules committees on March 30, and placed on the floor calendar.[16] It was passed by the Senate 40–23 and by the Assembly 94–56 the same day.[17] It became law upon the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 31.[10]

Provisions, revenue and administration[edit]

The law includes several provisions regulating the possession and sale of recreational marijuana. Adults aged 21 or older are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis flower on their person or up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis. The law also allows public consumption of marijuana where tobacco smoking is allowed, a first in the United States.

Home cultivation of marijuana is permitted, but remains illegal until 18 months after the first sale of recreational marijuana at a state-licensed dispensary, which would be no sooner than April 1, 2022.[18] The law also expands the state's existing medical marijuana program, allowing doctors greater discretion to prescribe cannabis to patients without needing to cite a specific state-defined qualifying condition.

Tax revenue under the act for the City of New York was estimated by the state comptroller in 2017 to be at least $400 million annually.[19] The state legal market was reported in 2018 by The New York Times to be worth $1.7 billion annually.[20]

The act creates the Office of Cannabis Management charged with all regulation related to cannabis, to include hemp.[6]

Amendments made in April–May 2019 included provisions for expungement of some past cannabis-related convictions. 300,000 convictions could be eligible.[21]

Support and opposition[edit]

Support from the bill in 2019 came from civil rights groups, citing racial inequities stemming from the War on Drugs. The New York Farm Bureau supported the bill.[22] The district attorneys of Albany County and New York County (Manhattan), David Soares and Cyrus Vance Jr., published an op-ed in the New York Daily News supporting the bill, citing its correction of racial injustice and the freeing up of finite law enforcement resources for other matters.[23] Vance had already ended prosecuting most marijuana offenses in New York City as of August, 2018.[24]

Opposition in 2019 came from the out-of-state organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana who spent $10,000 on billboards criticizing legislators who promoted the bill.[25] Long Island legislators not favoring the bill said that law enforcement had expressed "concerns" about cannabis and impaired driving,[26] and legalization was opposed by New York State Association of PBAs (police unions) and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police.[27][28] New York State PTA opposed the bill.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liz Krueger (December 11, 2013), "Sen. Krueger Introduces Bill to Regulate and Tax Marijuana in New York State", Official website, New York State Senate
  2. ^ NYS Lawmakers Roll Out Measure To Tax, Legalize Marijuana, CBS New York, December 11, 2013
  3. ^ Janet Burns (January 11, 2018), "Will New York Finally Consider Legalizing Cannabis This Week?", Forbes
  4. ^ Jessica Formoso (January 11, 2018), Legal marijuana in New York? Lawmakers hold hearing, Fox 5 New York (WNYW-TV)
  5. ^ Claire Hansen (May 29, 2019). "New York Gov. Cuomo Say Marijuana Legalization is Still a Top Priority as Legislation Faces Roadblocks – An effort to legalize weed in New York stalled in April but may be reinvigorated with the reintroduction of a legalization bill". U.S. News & World Report.
  6. ^ a b KAREN DEWITT (May 14, 2019), New Legal Marijuana Bill Introduced In NY, Albany, New York: WAMC Northeast Public Radio
  7. ^ Claire Hansen (May 31, 2019). "Illinois Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization". U.S. News & World Report. Illinois will also become the first state to legalize cannabis sales through legislation, a feat that has proved notoriously tricky even in states with Democrat-controlled statehouses. The nine states where marijuana sales are legal approved the practice at the ballot box.
  8. ^ Lizzy Gurdus (June 8, 2019). "Illinois legalizing cannabis could help New York, New Jersey do the same, says U.S. pot CEO". CNBC.
  9. ^ Claire Hansen (June 19, 2019). "New York Marijuana Legalization Bill Dead for Now: A reinvigorated push for cannabis legalization fell short on the last day of the legislative session". U.S. News & World Report.
  10. ^ a b "New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana". The New York Times. March 31, 2021.
  11. ^ Senate Bill S854 , New York State Senate, accessed February 17, 2021
  12. ^ Lynelle K. Bosworth; Katharine J. Neer; India L. Sneed (January 25, 2021), "Gov. Cuomo Proposes Legalization of Cannabis for Adult-Use in New York State", The National Law Review
  13. ^ "New York Lawmakers Reach Deal to Legalize Marijuana". The Wall Street Journal. March 24, 2021.
  14. ^ Luis Ferré-Sadurní (March 25, 2021). "New York Reaches a Deal to Legalize Recreational Marijuana". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Marina Villeneuve; Jennifer Peltz; Karen Matthews (March 28, 2021). "New York lawmakers agree to legalize recreational marijuana". Associated Press.
  16. ^ S854, NY Senate (official website) bill tracker, accessed March 30, 2021
  17. ^ "Bill Search and Legislative Information | New York State Assembly". Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  18. ^ Ferré-Sadurní, Luis; Closson, Troy (2021-04-01). "New York Has Legalized Marijuana. Here's What to Know". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-12.
  19. ^ Al Olson (June 14, 2017), "New York Recreational Marijuana Bill Is On The Table", Out magazine
  20. ^ Vivian Wang (December 17, 2018). "Cuomo Moves to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in New York". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Ala Errebhi (June 15, 2019). "NY marijuana bill could erase 300,000 criminal convictions". Buffalo, New York: WKBW-TV – via KPRC-TV (Houston).
  22. ^ David Lombardo (June 10, 2019). "New York Farm Bureau backs marijuana legalization". Times Union. Albany, New York.
  23. ^ Cyrus Vance Jr.; David Soares (June 14, 2019). "Legalize marijuana now, New York: Two district attorneys say the time has come to permit use of the substance". New York Daily News.
  24. ^ Verena Dobnik (June 2, 2018). "Bad timing: End to pot prosecutions in NYC comes too late for many". The Associated Press – via The Detroit News.
  25. ^ David Robinson (June 10, 2019). "New York marijuana: What to know about anti-pot billboards, key lawmakers under pressure". Rockland/Westchester Journal News. USA Today Network New York. One of the billboards targets Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who has said the bill is important to address the disproportionate impact pot arrests on people of color in urban areas.
  26. ^ Fred Mogul (June 14, 2019). "Eleventh-Hour Efforts Target Marijuana-Hesitant Lawmakers". Gothamist. WNYC. Archived from the original on June 17, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  27. ^ New York State Association of Chiefs of Police oppose marijuana legalization, Rochester, New York: WHEC-TV, January 18, 2019
  28. ^ Tina Moore (February 6, 2019). "State police unions unanimously oppose legalizing marijuana". New York Post.
  29. ^ David Lombardo (February 6, 2019). "PTA urges state leaders to back-burner marijuana legalization". Times Union. Albany, New York.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]