Cannabis revenue has been included in New York's 2020 budget with a legalization bill slated to go into effect on April 1, 2020, writes Calvin Hughes.

Those are some of the details that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed yesterday during his State of the State speech. Cuomo, who only recently hopped on the legalization bandwagon while campaigning for re-election in 2018, said repealing cannabis prohibition in New York both reduces racial disparity and "creates good union jobs that we need."

"We have to do it in a way that creates an economic opportunity for poor communities and people who paid the price and not for rich corporations who are going to come in to make a buck."

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Under the proposed regulations, cannabis sold in New York will be subject to a 20 percent state tax and a 2 percent county tax. The sticker price on dried flower will also include a $1 excise tax per gram. The plan is expected to generate $300 million in tax revenues, which will be divided between a state traffic committee, small business development programs and substance abuse services among other things.

Cannabis will be legal across the state, but it won't be available in every corner of New York. Cuomo's plan allows individual counties and cities to opt-out of allowing cannabis businesses to sell, cultivate or distribute marijuana in their jurisdictions. And as in most legal states, cannabis sales will be restricted to adults 21 or older. 

But unlike in most legal states, New York would ban home cultivation of recreational cannabis. However, medical patients and their caregivers will be allowed to grow their own marijuana.

Cuomo's plan also offers marijuana offenders a second chance by with a measure that will "automatically seal certain cannabis-related criminal records." 

The state's legal cannabis market would be regulated by the new Office of Cannabis Management.  

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