By Olive Lundegaard
A Marijuana Taxation Bill is back in front of the New York State Senate Finance Committee as lawmakers work to pass marijuana legislations. Senate Bill S1527B, sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger (D, WF), that aims at taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol, creating a specific plan for the tax revenues, and clearly outlining what is and isn’t legal marijuana use in the state of New York.
The proposed bill outlines exactly where the tax revenue will go. Senator Krueger plans to reinvest the revenue back into communities she believes are disproportionately affected by the current Marijuana laws. Krueger believes that “Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy that disproportionately affects communities of color and wastes valuable law enforcement resources.” The bill outlines funds to benefit communities in New York: the proposed New York state Cannabis Revenue Fund, the Proposed New York State Drug Treatment Public Education Fund, and the proposed New York State Community Grants Reinvestment Fund.
Senator Krueger’s plan varies from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to address Marijuana Taxation and adult-use legalization. In his 2021 proposed budget, Gov. Cuomo plans to use the tax revenue to fund a variety of programs, including regulation costs, data gathering, boosting traffic-safety measures, substance-abuse programs, and a small-business development fund to benefit the State. While Krueger’s proposed bill outlined specifically where tax revenues will go, Cuomo’s budget proposal suggests that all revenue will go into the general state fund and be dispersed as needed in each yearly budget.
Proposed Senate Bill S1527B has been stuck within the NY Senate Finance Committee for over a year, as lawmakers disagree about where the revenue money should go. However, Senator Krueger’s office remains hopeful that legislation will get done this term after Gov. Cuomo added marijuana legalization to his proposed budget.
S1527B was referred back to the Finance Committee on January 8, 2020, and will be discussed at a public hearing on February 13, 2020, in Albany, NY beginning at 1 pm.