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New York State Holds Public Forum On Taxing And Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol


new york marijuana decriminalization assemblyToday, Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyperson Crystal Peoples-Stokes sponsored a public forum about the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Under the proposal, those over 21 would be able to purchase small amounts of marijuana from a state-regulated store. The bill would rectify the many problems associated with marijuana prohibition, including the arrests of tens of thousands of primarily young people of color.

“There is no question that New York’s marijuana policies are broken,” said Kassandra Frederique, Policy Manager at the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Each year, tens of thousands of New Yorkers are swept into the maze of the criminal justice system for nothing more than possessing small amounts of marijuana. Enforcement of these policies is focused almost entirely focused on young people, primarily young people of color, such that our laws are now applied differently to different people based on the color of their skin and their income level – this must stop.”

The hearing comes amidst a wave of marijuana policy reform nationally. Four states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize marijuana for adult use. At the federal level, Congress has just passed and President Obama yesterday signed the omnibus bill that contained an amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with states that have passed medical marijuana laws. Closer to home, marijuana arrests have been the subject of much debate, particularly in New York City where Mayor de Blasio recently proposed giving people a summons instead of arresting people for possessing marijuana in public view. The proposal, while well intentioned, only underscores the need for statewide legislation that will fix problems with New York’s marijuana possession law and address the legacy of injustice associated with these broken policies.

Just yesterday, the federal government’s National Institute on Drug Abuse released its annual Monitoring the Future survey showing that rates of marijuana use have declined among teens nationally. Monitoring the Future is now in its 40th year and is considered the ‘gold standard’ of teen drug use surveys. These declines in marijuana use among teens follow the implementation of the nation’s first marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington. Those laws were adopted in 2012, and retail sales of marijuana in those states began earlier this year. Each of the marijuana legalization laws clearly specifies that legalization applies to adults 21 and over and contains built-in safeguards that restrict sales to minors.

Increasingly, jurisdictions across the country are realizing that prohibition is the absence of control and are working to implement regulatory systems that are fair and effective.

“New York made small progress earlier this year when it passed a medical marijuana bill, though that bill was narrowed considerably before passage and patients continue to suffer without access to the medicine they need,” said gabriel sayegh, Managing Director of Policy & Campaigns at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The legislature in Albany is now considering the Fairness and Equity Act, which seeks to address the problem of marijuana arrests in New York. They should pass that bill immediately. But for all the strengths decriminalization, it leaves prohibition intact. New Yorkers have suffered long enough under this failed system of prohibition. New York needs to catch up with other states and tax and regulate marijuana.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Mahender Goriganti on

    Weed, Opium, alcohol etc are all well known to the humans since they transformed from apes to being societies for thousands of years. The use, abuse, recreational use etc all existed as they are today for thousands of years. the only difference is now a particular sect of scavengers and vultures are trying to make living out of nothing new by subjecting them to all kinds of laws and rules and declaring Wars on Drugs etc..

  2. Mahender Goriganti on

    FYI: I am a physician, treated people with chronic pain issues, management of the same all my life. he are the facts as lectured to me by the retired FBI agent / speaker at various scientific fora confirms that 2/3rd of the users of Marijuana and other illegal drugs, including prescription drugs are “white suburbanites” across the country. or ex: Chief justice Scalia is a known proscription drug abuser, both himself and his doctor got-away with it. That is how the stereo typing works.

  3. Mahender Goriganti on

    Remember at one time, it still is, A War on Drugs??, an industry created for what purpose?? and why it is absentminded now?? and has gained legal sanctity even for recreational purpose?? How is alcohol is a corporate/business promoted social norm, but also a status symbol for what ?? taxes money that changes the rules. Not necessarily the social justice, but a hole lot industry players to make buck out of already disadvantaged by labeling, castigating, restricting one’s ability to produce, employ people or contribute to society. If every form of addiction or social norm such as TV addiction etc is to be treated as such, every one of us will be in jail producing nothing to feed the very vultures who came up with these laws ever changing, as they please.

  4. As President of the largest New York State based community of recreation marijuana smokers, I agree with Kassandra Frederique. Black people have been disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition. We would like to know if Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Peoples have included provisions for the thousands of young black and Latino men and women with criminal records for possession of small amounts of marijuana? For example, can those with records for possession of small amounts of marijuana be expunged? And, can people serving prison time get there sentence dropped in the interest of Justice? It doesn’t seem fair that the many victims of the failed war on drugs be excluded. Dennis Levy, President New York State Committee To legalize Marijuana.

  5. Good, go back underground where you know what your getting for your local dealer, which is probably 10x better for you as opposed to whats being manufactured now by some of these extraction co.!!

  6. As far as I’m concerned, weed will be available whether its legal or not so who cares about total legalization on the state level?? We want it on a federal level where it counts!! First it was on schedule 1 because it contained mo medical value so whats theior excuse now, lol? What a Joke.

  7. Remove it from the CSA and the difference between “legalize” and “decriminalization” becomes moot.

  8. John Juggaglio. on

    I live in washington state. Marijuana being legal is not any better than illegal. “Yay we can smoke government weed” ya right. Sounds like the poisoning of tobacco again. The consequences for growing and distributing are much worse now that possesion is legal. I wish i could go back to when it was illegal here in seattle and only decriminalized. Theres even a new test for marijuana DUI’s that seattle police carry now. Decriminalize it, dont legalize it, new york.

  9. When there’s no middle ground in the negotiations, odds are it won’t gain approval.
    There’s no realistic way to move this issue forward that doesn’t include some form of regulatory oversight.
    And without it, we would basically have a legalized collection of producers that could, and are currently, determining the price, makeup of the products, etc.
    In effect, medical patients could easily be priced out and forced back to the streets, and it’s beginning to happen now across the country due to no pricing oversight.

  10. The original bill by D Savino/bklyn SI
    Included home grows
    They tore that up , shredded it and all NY got was block cheese

  11. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Very refreshing news, Johnny Green! Thank you. Please encourage everyone you know to write and mail old-fashioned letters to NYS lawmakers, starting the first week of January. Call them. Go to the state Capitol in Albany and meet with them. Keep pressing them in every possible way, and they may just listen. Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes are doing a fine job of co-sponsoring the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. But it will help if we have dozens more determined ladies leading this effort, too, as happened with passage of the Compassionate Care Act. It was all the mothers whose kids endure seizures; the breast and other cancer survivors; and the women nurses and doctors who got that bill passed. I love New York ladies who support cannabis plants! Together, we can get this done.

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