Legalizing recreational marijuana in New York would be very significant on many levels. Obviously, with New York's enormous population, huge sums of money would be generated for the State. Depending on the rules and regulations, New York could become the most lucrative state in America for the growing marijuana industry. I think there would be ancillary benefits to the industry as well, especially in the area of marketing. National companies like fast food chains, snack foods, and others have been weary of advertising directly to marijuana consumers. From discussions I've had with some heavy hitters in the marijuana industry, those national brands are waiting until New York legalizes marijuana.
A bill was filed this week by New York State Senator Liz Krueger that would legalize marijuana. Per the bill summary:
Enacts the "marihuana regulation and taxation act"; relates to the description of marihuana, and the growing of and use of marihuana by persons eighteen years of age or older; makes technical changes regarding the definition of marihuana; relates to the qualification of certain offenses involving marihuana and exempts certain persons from prosecution for the use, consumption, display, production or distribution of marihuana; provides for the licensure of persons authorized to produce, process and sell marihuana; levies an excise tax on certain sales of marihuana; repeals certain provisions of the penal law relating to the criminal sale of marihuana and provisions of the general business law relating to drug paraphernalia; makes an appropriation therefor.
S01747 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee. What the chances are of it passing is up in the air right now. If you live in New York, contact your Senators and let them know that marijuana prohibition has failed, and that it's time to take a new approach to marijuana policy. A legal marijuana industry in New York would help generate much needed tax revenue, jobs, and would free up police resources so that they could be directed towards fighting real crime. Legalize it!