After a rough start, 2021 is considered by many to be the year New York legalizes marijuana for adults. The plant, which is no more harmful than alcohol and is consumed responsibly by millions, is already legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Washington State, and more where together they form more than a third of the American population.
Legislation in the New York governor's budget, which was amended last week, looks more promising than previous years’ efforts. Various bills provide for the creation of an Office of Cannabis Management, overseen by the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Health, and the governor is a member.
Lawmakers will likely try to appoint at least one member who would be a recognized expert to lead the development of the New York marijuana program. Another welcome feature of the amended law is the creation of a $100 million social fund which is financed by the estimated $350 million in annual revenue that legalization is expected to generate. Local governments and non-profit organizations can apply for funding to support efforts to rebuild communities most affected by the war on drugs.