The New York state legislature has voted to legalise recreational cannabis for adults and expunge previous convictions for possession.

The Senate voted 40-23 to pass the legislation, followed by the Assembly, which voted 100-49 in favour.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will sign the bill, making New York the 15th state in the US, along with the District of Columbia, to have legalised recreational use.

Cuomo said: “Tonight, the New York State legislature took the first step in a major leap forward for the Empire State by passing legislation to legalise adult-use cannabis.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo: prohibition disproportionately impacted communities of colour

“For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of colour with harsh prison sentences and after years of hard work, this landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalised communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public.”

“New York has a storied history of being the progressive capital of the nation, and this important legislation will once again carry on that legacy. I look forward to signing [it] into law.”

Under the measures, it will be legal for New Yorkers aged 21 and over to possess three ounces of cannabis and grow a limited number of plants at home.

Anyone previously convicted of possessing an amount of cannabis lower than the now legal limit will automatically be subject to expungement and resentencing.

There will be a 13% sales tax, with 9% going to the state and 4% going to localities.

Cuomo’s office said up to 60,000 new jobs could be created with the state generating US$350 million in annual revenue. However, sales won’t start until the regulatory framework is established, which could take until 2022.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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