New York Expected To Legalize Marijuana With Vote Tuesday

New York is expected to join a growing number of states to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The agreement would also expand the state's existing medical marijuana programs, as well as set up a system for licensing and taxing the sale of recreational cannabis products.

Legalization has been a years-long battle in New York State, including recently as state democrats, who built up a veto-proof majority in the state Legislature, wrangled over the details.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has estimated that legalization could generate about $350 million annually for the state.

Proponents of legalization have long argued that marijuana prohibition and racially disparate enforcement has taken a toll on communities of color and contributed to racial profiling and distrust between police their communities they serve.

The legislation would allow recreational marijuana sales to adults over age 21. It would also set up regulations for licensing dispensaries, cannabis lounges and the delivery of cannabis products to customers.

Individual New Yorkers would also be allowed to grow a small number of plants for personal consumption. Local governments would be permitted to opt out of retail sales.

Sales would not begin until the state set up rules, a proposed cannabis advisory board and issued licenses to dispensaries.

The advancement of the New York marijuana legislation comes after New Jersey voters approved a ballot referendum to legalize it in November.

Photo: Getty Images

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