A bill filed last month in New York would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively rejecting the federal prohibition on the same.
Senate Bill 1747 (SB1747) was introduced on Jan. 14 by State Sens. Liz Krueger (D-28), Martin Dilan (D-18), Brad Hoylman (D-27), Velmanette Montgomery (D-25) and Gustavo Rivera (D-33). If this bill is successful, New York would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.
SB1747 would amend the alcoholic beverage control law to include marijuana products. The regulations that apply to alcohol would therefore apply to marijuana in the state of New York. Thus, marijuana would be sold by licensed distributors to people aged 21 or older. New York residents would still face potential fines or imprisonment if they possess or distribute marijuana in ways banned under the bill.
The goal of the legislation is to “regulate, control, and tax marihuana in a manner similar to alcohol, generate millions of dollars in new revenue, prevent access to marihuana by those under the age of eighteen years, reduce the illegal drug market and reduce violent crime, reduce the racially disparate impact of existing marihuana laws, allow industrial hemp to be farmed in New York state, and create new industries and increase employment.”
The passage of SB1747 would mark an enormous step in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of New York. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced by a more compassionate, decentralized approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace this tremendous opportunity to make it more difficult for individuals to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures such as SB1747 would help us toward that inevitable goal.
The bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee where it will need to pass through successfully before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of New York, contact your state legislators immediately. It is important for you to politely urge them to support and co-sponsor this important bill. That is how you can make a difference in the fight against cannabis prohibition.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to SB1747 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.