Each day we’re getting closer to creating a future that recognizes cannabis and the good it can do. Events over the last few days were very productive in the field of marijuana legalization! Unbelievable changes are happening in our cannabis community. Namely, amendments to legislation related to adult use of marijuana are currently happening. New York legalizes recreational marijuana, with Virginia, and New Mexico potentially right behind! So, let’s see what all this means.
Fantastic news for New Yorkers! On Tuesday, March 30, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that lawmakers have passed legislation that legalizes the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age! From what he posted on Twitter, this legislation brings many novelties to New York citizens, namely the following:
- Regulatory framework – by creating the regulatory framework, the Office of Cannabis Management will now be able to prevent corruption in the market and improve the economy of New York
- Prioritization of marginalized communities who have suffered from the War on Drugs by using tax revenue to invest in them
- Putting an end to severe penalties and prison sentences for those who use or possess marijuana
- Expansion of the New York State Medical Marijuana Program launched in 2016
The bill was signed into law on the same day, thus making New York the first state to sign a bill into law in under 24 hours and the 16th state to decriminalize recreational marijuana use. It means that marijuana possession is now 100% legal in New York!
Not long after New York’s governor announced the shocking news, on March 31, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam also announced amendments to legislation with a public statement. He said “The time has come to legalize marijuana in our Commonwealth, and Virginia will get this right.”
These amendments would expedite the process of making marijuana legal to possess and grow for adults over 21. The initial legislation was set to take effect on January 1, 2024. With these amendments, the process is significantly shortened – and the enactment date is July 1, 2021. Legislators will vote on the amendments next week, but we’ll observe the situation closely and keep our fingers crossed that July 1 will be a happy day for Virginians as well!
It seems like States are starting to work together and learn from each other. Later during the day of March 31, two pieces of legislation went to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office. One legislation would, theoretically, legalize the use of recreational marijuana. At the same time, the other would erase criminal records and reduce the penalties and prison sentences some individuals are facing due to marijuana possession.
The Governor said that she “praised the efforts” and she would sign the bills into law as soon as possible. For New Mexico, legalization of recreational marijuana would mark the end of some negative impacts of the War on Drugs. Therefore, it would bring justice to many affected by harsh low-class cannabis “offenses”.
Other states with recreational marijuana legalization
Recreational marijuana use is fully legal in 16 States, including New York. They are: Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New, Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and New York.
Decriminalization would bring joy for marijuana-lovers across the States, also, it would benefit the economy and sociopolitical situations in the U.S. So, this truly is a win-win situation! The fact that New York legalizes and two other States have made progress in just two days makes us wonder what the next months hold! We’re excited to hear more States are decriminalizing marijuana, we cannot wait to see how laws will keep changing!