City Comptroller John Liu is proposing legalizing marijuana in the city to generate more than $400 million in annual revenue.
“Regulating marijuana would keep thousands of New Yorkers out of the criminal justice system, offer relief to those suffering from a wide range of painful medical conditions, and make our streets safer by sapping the dangerous underground market that targets our children. As if that weren’t enough, it would also boost our bottom line,” Liu said in a statement released Wednesday.
The mayoral candidate’s proposal would make it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of pot for medicinal or recreational purposes. They would have to purchase the drug at a government-licensed business.
According to a report released today by the comptroller’s office, the city’s current marijuana market is estimated at about $1.65 million annually. Liu is hoping the $400 million made each year from taxing the sale of the drug could help reduce CUNY tuition by as much as 50 percent for city residents.
He also said the city could save an additional $31 million on law enforcement and judicial resources spent on marijuana-related arrests.
In order for Liu’s proposal to pass, the deregulation would need to be approved by the state legislature.
Along with his proposal, Liu suggested the creation of a task force consisting of the NYPD, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, district attorneys, and Department of Consumer Affairs that would study issues related to regulation and work with the state legislature to pass the legislation.
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