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New York lawmakers agree to legalize recreational marijuana

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – New York lawmakers have finalized an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.

The state has come close to passing marijuana legislation several times but until now has been unable to finalize a deal. New York joins at least 14 other states that allow residents to buy marijuana for recreational, and not just medical, use. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has made legalization a priority for his administration this year. His office has estimated that once a legal marijuana industry is fully mature, it could bring the state about $350 million annually.

New York would set a 9% sales tax on cannabis, plus an additional 4% tax split between the county and local government. It would also impose an additional tax based on the level of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, ranging from 0.5 cents per milligram for flower to 3 cents per milligram for edibles.

The legislation would take effect immediately if passed, though sales wouldn’t start until New York sets up rules and a proposed cannabis board. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes estimated Friday it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.

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