New York booming with fiscal ambitions

Construction workers line up to take a temperature test to return to the job site after lunch, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York, New York , United States, November 10, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

New York is considering the possibility of creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars in sales taxes after becoming the last US state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

The Empire State last week became the 15th state to fully legalize recreational drug use by adults.

The state expects legal sales of marijuana for people aged 21 and over to begin in about a year, as it issues commercial cannabis licenses while preparing to enforce a long list of new laws on it. marijuana. Smoking marijuana will be legal wherever smoking tobacco is permitted. Users will be allowed to possess up to 3 ounces (85 grams) of the drug.

Retail sales of marijuana would be subject to a 9% state tax and a 4% local tax.

Although estimates vary, all sales estimates point to huge tax revenues and thousands of new jobs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said marijuana sales are expected to generate $ 350 million in tax revenue per year and potentially create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs. Sales could reach $ 1.2 billion by 2023 and $ 4.2 billion by 2027, according to consulting firm MPG Consulting. The sales would generate an average of $ 573 million in tax revenue over the first five years. MPG expects the industry to employ approximately 21,000 people within two years and over 75,000 within six years.

Beyond the expected tax revenues and new jobs, supporters of legalization emphasize its impact on heavily populated minority communities. When Cuomo, a Democrat, signed legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature on Wednesday, he said it was also about “justice for long marginalized communities and ensuring that those who have been unfairly penalized in the past will now have a chance to benefit “.

The legislation will erase the records of thousands of people who have already been convicted of marijuana-related offenses. People of color accounted for 94% of marijuana-related arrests in 2020, according to data from the New York City Police Department.

To support communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs, 40% of most tax revenue would be reinvested in Latin and black communities. The deal also includes “equity programs” that would provide loans, grants and incubation programs for small farmers and people from disproportionately affected communities who wish to enter the industry.

Public education would receive 40 percent of tax revenue and the remaining 20 percent would go to drug addiction treatment, prevention and education.

Legalization of the drug was approved despite opposition from the State Parents Association, or PTA, and law enforcement agencies. He was also opposed by the New York State Medical Society, which represents physicians, and raised concerns about the need for more research into the effects of marijuana on physical and mental health.

“We don’t think this will solve much of the problem of society and social justice,” Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA said in a television interview. “In every other state that has passed, even though they’re 21 and over, kids have had better access, a huge increase in things like hospitalization and accidental ingestion.”

According to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, calls to poison control centers associated with unintentional children’s exposure to cannabis increased in the United States from 2017 to 2019, in large part due to accidental use of the products. edibles based on cannabis.

“We are seeing these edible displays more and more often in young children. They arrive completely sedated after eating brownies at a party or eating foods belonging to their teenage siblings,” said Payal Sud, medical toxicologist and associate chair of the emergency department at Glen Cove Hospital.

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