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New York State Legislators Introduce Marijuana Legalization Bill

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A bill to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults in New York state was introduced this week by three state legislators.

In the past 15 years, New York police have made 600,000 arrests for marijuana possession, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports. According to bill chief sponsor State Senator Liz Krueger, in New York, more than 97 percent of marijuana arrests are just for possession.

“Prohibition of marijuana is a policy that just hasn’t worked, no matter how you look at it, and it’s time to have an honest conversation about what we should do next,” Krueger said in a news release. “The illegal marijuana economy is alive and well, and our unjust laws are branding nonviolent New Yorkers, especially young adults, as criminals, creating a vicious cycle that ruins lives and needlessly wastes taxpayer dollars. Worst of all, this system has resulted in a civil rights disaster: African Americans are dramatically more likely to be arrested for pot possession than whites, despite similar rates of marijuana use among both groups.”

The bill would legalize the purchase of marijuana by those over the age of 21, and would impose a $50-per-ounce excise tax on the sale of the drug. Sales would be overseen by the state liquor authority. Possession of marijuana would be legal for anyone 18 and older.

Possessing marijuana is considered a violation under New York law. If the drug is displayed, smoked or consumed, it becomes a misdemeanor, with a potential sentence of up to three months in jail, the article notes.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Mike W
    Mike W / December 18, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Don’t people realize that we are going to continue smoking regardless and that this is what the majority of the people want! the longer there is prohibition the longer the marijuana consumers are going to rebel and continue to grow. LEGALIZE NY!!!

  2. docbarry / December 12, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    People that don’t learn from their mistakes, are destined to repeat them. Prohibition of a substance is a social, public policy. In the case of drugs, there is built in racism. Check the statistics for the percentage of people of color, specifically black, per 100,000, that are incarcerated in the U.S. for prohibition (drug) issues. Much greater than South Africa during Apartheid.
    Did prohibition of alcohol benefit anyone other than organized criminal enterprises? Are we not doing the same thing? By the way, if you grew up in the 50′s or 60′s, when did you first hear the terminology Drug Cartel?
    That all being said, does anyone that reads or writes on Join Together think that prohibition cuts down use of substance? Artificially, perhaps. How about the pain and suffering that goes with that?
    In closing, no other drugs compare with the economic and social effect of Alcohol, Tobacco and Caffeine. Empires and economies were based on them; culturally, they changed society. They are legal. The little three drugs are Marijuana, Opiates and Cocaine. That information comes from David Courtright’s Historical book, “Forces of Habit.”

  3. Avatar of Shari
    Shari / December 12, 2013 at 11:50 am

    And so it begins…legalization of a drug with known harmful effects and unproven, unreliable testing as a medicine all for reasons of obtaining a high and making money. Oh, wait…alcohol and tobacco are legal that status has “limited” social, physical and mental problem in our country. (sarcastic tone there) The last time I checked marijuana is STILL a Scheduled 1 drug and federally against the law. Oh, wait…individual states have more power than our national government since they allow their general public to vote on a substance, a drug to be legit. And, of course the general public are all experts on the truth of marijuana. And, of course, it’s perfectly “normal” for us to vote on substances. This process changes a state’s CONSTITUTION, making an amendment that much more difficult to change if a mistake has been made. It’s not about individual rights, profit-making to help a town’s/state’s economy or going with any poll that shows a percent of approval for legalizing marijuana. It’s about health, our youth and the basic fact called the truth about this fascinating drug, marijuana…pot. #ourcountryisgoingtopot

  4. Avatar of Nancy Devaney
    Nancy Devaney / December 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Why not start with a decriminalization bill??

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