New York Takes Steps to Legalize Marijuana


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have reached an agreement that will allow marijuana to be sold legally within the state of New York.

The specifics of the deal that was brokered between Cuomo and legislative leaders would allow cannabis to be used by any adult over the age of 21. Cannabis sold within the state would be subject to a 13% sales tax which breaks down as 9% going to the state and 4% to the localities where the cannabis was purchased. 

Additionally, distributors would also be responsible for collecting an excise tax which would be calculated depending on the potency of the cannabis sold. However, these taxes would not be imposed on marijuana if sold for medical purposes. The tax program is modeled on the current tax program levied on alcohol. 

While the deal is likely, the legal selling of marijuana for recreational use will not be immediately available. Once the legal framework is in place, licenses will need to be granted. Any businesses seeking to open marijuana dispensaries will only be granted a license if they meet the specific requirements outlined in the legislation. 


With New York following the lead of other neighboring states to legalize marijuana, there are questions over the impact this will have on New York residents. 

While the sale and purchase of cannabis are legalized, driving while under the influence of the drug is still outlawed. Alongside this, any citizen under the influence of cannabis is still legally responsible for their negligent actions.

Lawyers recommend that marijuana be considered similar to alcohol in these matters. Both drugs have the ability to impair someone’s judgment and can affect their behavior. While both would be able to be legally consumed should the legalization of marijuana go through, a person under the influence is still entirely responsible for the decisions they make and any activity they undertake as a result. 

Legal Positions

If consumption of cannabis does increase due to legalization then many citizens may need to seek the representation of a respected New York personal injury lawyer. This is because those under the influence of marijuana may be responsible for road traffic collisions, injuries, property damage, or other negligent actions which could result in a citizen needing legal representation to pursue damages claims. Reputable and respected personal injury lawyers will be up to speed with all laws surrounding marijuana use at the time of the incident and will be able to advise on the best course of action to pursue any claims that will hold a person or persons responsible for their actions.

Similarly, as a legal user of marijuana, you will be able to pursue any personal injury claims that happen to you while you are under the influence if you are behaving responsibly and within the law, similar to claims made where the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. 

While it is still to be seen if the approaching laws within New York do increase use, New York residents should be prepared and take reasonable steps to legally protect themselves against any negligence that may arise.