New York state lawmakers approved an initiative Tuesday that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already said he will sign.

With this bill endorsed by the two state chambers, where the Cuomo Democrats hold the majority, New York will join 14 other states in the United States – plus the District of Columbia – that already allow this use of cannabis.

“This landmark legislation brings justice to long-marginalized communities, fosters a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial security guarantees for the people,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The governor’s office has said its entry into force could provide about $ 350 million annually in taxes and create tens of thousands of jobs.

The law will allow people over 21 years of age to buy cannabis and grow plants for their personal consumption, with a plan for part of the funds raised to go to drug treatment and education.

New York will also automatically expunge the records of people previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes who will no longer be punished.

The law will also eliminate fines for possession of up to 85 grams of the drug, the new personal possession limit. And an existing program for the medical use of marijuana will be expanded.

The decision comes as Cuomo faces an investigation into alleged sexual harassment and intimidation of employees, as well as accusations against his administration of having covered up deaths related to Covid-19 in nursing homes.

bgs / qan / lda / tjc

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