Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and Speaker Carl Heastie Announce Passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to Legalize Adult Use of Marijuana in New York State

Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright and Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to legalize adult use of marijuana in New York State.

Seawright said the Act will advance a new era of equity and fairness, provide the necessary safeguards to ensure health and safety, erase most marijuana convictions, create thousands of jobs and provide millions of dollars in new funding to localities.

“We take a major step forward today in our fight for equity and fairness for all,” said Assemblymember Seawright. “No longer will any community bear the burden of indiscriminate enforcement, incarceration, and so many other human harms too great to be calculated.”

“Passage of this bill will mean not just legalizing marijuana, but investing in education and our communities, and bring to an end decades of disproportionately targeting people of color under state and federal drug laws,” Speaker Heastie said. 

The new law creates the Office of Cannabis Management to administer a comprehensive regulatory framework governing medical, adult-use cannabinoid hemp.The agreement would allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana, increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient, and permit home cultivation of medical cannabis. 

A social and economic equity program would facilitate individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement. The law sets a goal of 50% of licenses for minority or woman-owned business enterprises, distressed farmers, or service-disabled veterans.

The law also creates automatic expungement for previous marijuana convictions that are now legal under the new law. A clean indoor air act will create a baseline for indoor smoking or vaping.

Cannabis will be included in the Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) law, and driving while impaired by cannabis will be considered a misdemeanor. The legislation includes additional funding for drug recognition experts and law enforcement to ensure safe roadways. The use of cannabis by drivers will remain prohibited.