The party’s executive committee announced that it passed a resolution calling for the legalization of marijuana, saying millions could be added to state coffers if it were taxed like alcohol at an excise tax rate of 13 percent.
“The New York State Democratic Committee supports the legalization of marijuana which should be regulated and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol,” reads a resolution adopted by delegates at the party’s convention on Wednesday.
Legalization “is an important social justice issue,” the measure says. “Millions of peaceful Americans have been arrested, imprisoned, fined, or otherwise needlessly criminalized and stigmatized, potentially for life, because of their use of marijuana.”
Two week ago, the New York Times published a reportshowing that racially disproportionate arrest rates for minor cannabis infractions have persisted in the city even after Mayor de Blasio undertook reforms to correct the situation.
“People pick and choose what they want to amplify. But it’s so now clear that marijuana arrests are discriminatory,” said former New York City Council Speaker Chris Quinn, reported CBS News.
And there is money to be made: New York City’s comptroller released an analysis showing that legal marijuana sales, could generate $436 million annually in state tax revenue; the city could bring in as much as $335 million, reported the Marijuana Moment.
Just last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio instructed the NYPD to stop arresting people for smoking weed in public then announced that the city is beginning to draft plans to prepare the Big Apple for the inevitable.
“Our city has to get rules in place before this happens and be prepared for the public safety, public health and financial impact,” said Mayor de Blasio.
New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky said that legalizing marijuana isn’t just some progressive idea that seems to be sweeping the country.
“As a lawmaker, we have to make sure that it’s going to be rolled out responsibly, that our roads are going to be safe and that our children are going to be safe,” said Kaminsky.