Overview of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (S.3040-A/A.2506) would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana under state law along lines similar to the state’s current system regulating alcohol, as well as the legalization models being implemented in Colorado and Washington. Senator Krueger first introduced the bill in 2013 and recently amended the bill to draw on the experience of other states that have enacted similar laws. The Assembly version of the bill is carried by Assembly Member Crystal Peoples Stokes and is currently in the Assembly Codes Committee.

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The MRTA would empower the State Liquor Authority to act as the primary regulatory agency. In brief, the bill would...

• Removes penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use;

• Makes 21 the minimum legal age for marijuana possession and consumption;

• Establishes that smoking marijuana in public and possession of marijuana by persons under the age of 21 are subject to penalties through the Alcoholic Beverage and Control law rather than the Penal Law;

• Allows for home cultivation of up to six marijuana plants by persons 21 or over;

• Empowers the State Liquor Authority to grant licenses for marijuana production, transport and retail sale;

• Prohibits sale of marijuana to persons under 21;

• Allows communities to opt out of retail sale for off-premises consumption through a referendum process similar to what is now in place for alcohol sales;

• Allows communities to opt in to allow retail sales for on-premises consumption through a vote of the local legislature, in addition to the local community board in the case of New York City;

• Subjects all public facilities to the same anti-smoking requirements established by the Clean Indoor Air Act;

• Establishes an excise tax on marijuana and concentrated cannabis, and allows localities the option of imposing an additional sales tax on retail sales; and

• Directs a portion of the state tax revenue collected to be directed to re-entry programs, substance abuse programs, job training programs and other programs to address impact on communities impacted by the drug war.