Thursday, April 1, 2021. New York City – On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, New York state legalized recreational cannabis.
For many years, activists have been working with lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana in New York state. Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo has been in office for many years, but he was against the legalization of cannabis.
On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, I traveled on a bus with different activists from New York City to Albany, the capital of the state. Activists were demanding the legalization of marijuana in the state with a focus on racial and economic justice.
“For decades, Greens have campaigned and organized to legalize marijuana. The next generation of that struggle is ensuring JUST legalization, meaning to benefit everyday people and those hurt most by the Drug War and *not* Big Pharma, Big Agra and other deep-pocket interests,” says the Green Party of the United States of America.
Green Party Celebrates MRTA’s Historic Passage While Calling for True Legalization.
The Green Party of New York state says in a press release: “Green Party officers celebrated the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) as the culmination of a decades-long struggle by activists and communities to allow for legal sales of cannabis and to begin the process of rebuilding spaces ravaged by the failed Drug War. Party leaders said the organization had always proudly been on the front lines of the struggle for marijuana legalization. Party spokespeople also said they hoped the flaws of MRTA would be addressed soon, and that New York would follow Oregon’s lead and decriminalize all drugs.
“Decades after New York decriminalized marijuana possession, the state has finally chosen to legalize the production and sale of cannabis. Years of hard work and struggle by activists and victims of the failed Drug War mean the law has a bent towards restorative justice. We are overjoyed that MRTA will expunge records for people with records with previous convictions that are no longer criminalized. Similarly, the equity programs to provide communities disproportionately impacted by the Drug War with opportunities to participate in the newly legal industry, 50% of licenses to social-equity applicants, and 40% of tax revenue directed towards the Community Grants Reinvestment fund are a hopeful sign,” said state co-chair Gloria Mattera.
“MRTA is still an imperfect law and one that needs correction. To be a true legalization bill, it will need provisions to eliminate the black market: as a party we believe the level of taxation on the purchase of marijuana should be low enough to not be prohibitive for working class consumers, who will then find illegal sources. The current bill criminalizes purchase and use by adults under 21; we believe that given teen use the legal use age should be lowered to 18. There should be no limit to homegrow or possession – we don’t limit the amount of cigarettes or alcohol you can have, why do we with marijuana? All marijuana sold in New York should be required to be organically produced, and large corporations should be excluded from entry into the market. We need to reduce plastic packaging waste and this should be addressed with marijuana sales as well. Finally, let’s follow Oregon’s lead and use this to move to true drug decriminalization,” said party co-chair Peter LaVenia.”
Some people say that the growing number of sexual harassment allegations against governor Andrew Cuomo, in addition to controversy over the state’s handling of nursing home COVID-19 death data, forced him to sign the bill legalizing cannabis.
So far, Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct by nine women. The state attorney general, Letitia James has launched a formal investigation.
Sales of marijuana will not start until New York sets up regulations and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.
People will be able to grow marijuana plants. Adults who want to cultivate cannabis plants can buy regular or feminized cannabis seeds. There are companies that sell seeds on the Internet. There are weed seeds for beginners (these are cannabis seeds that do not require much maintenance and are highly mold resistant). People will have to wait until regulators set rules for it. It could take 18 months to two years for regulators to set the rules.
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies legalized production of cannabis for industrial, medical, and recreational purposes. Lawmakers passed the revised marijuana legalization bill in a 316 votes in favor, 129 votes against and with 23 abstentions. The law returns to the Mexican Senate that needs to approve the modifications, which it likely will.
Under the proposal, adults 18 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. Activists are frustrated to see a provision that requires people who want to grow their own cannabis at home to register with the government for approval.
Drug policy reform advocates have been cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants in front of the Mexican Senate.
In October 2019, Deputy Ana Lucía Riojas Martínez, gave Secretary of the Interior Olga Sánchez Cordero, a marijuana joint. In August 2020, Senator Jesusa Rodríguez of the MORENA party decorated her desk with a marijuana plant. In September 2020, Senator Emilio Álvarez Icaza gave Interior Ministry Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero, a marijuana plant.
If Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sign the bill into law, Mexico would become the third country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, after Uruguay and Canada.
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