New York City's Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally passed the long-awaited Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) on March 30. With 43-20 voting by the assembly, Gov. Cuomo shared that the passing of MRTA will finally put an end to harsh prison sentences, prioritize marginalized communities and massively affect the growth of the cannabis industry in New York.
While this might seem like a hard-won victory for most activists, this act actually comes with compromised legalization. The final version of MRTA consists some elements of the Cannabis Regulation & Taxation Act (CRTA), which the activists highly criticized. Plus, this bill also comes with an unusual taxation policy.
According to this law, all the regulations related to the adult market, medical and hemp will be managed under a new office of Cannabis Management (OCM). This new body will be operated under the State Liquor Authority and managed by an individually-elected Cannabis Control Board.
Talking about the possession of cannabis, the act allows possession of up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrate with the residents while outside their homes. Inside their homes, a maximum of 5 pounds is allowed. Moreover, the MRTA has significantly lowered the penalties for carrying excessive quantities. More than 3 ounces but less than 6 ounces will result in a fine of $125. However, possession of more than 5 pounds will be considered a felony and be subjected to jail time.
This new policy also brings in an unusual measure of taxation based on the THC content. This THC tax would impose 0.5 cents per one milligram of THC in herbaceous flower, 0.8 cents\milligram in concentrates and three cents\milligram in edibles. A 13% sales tax will also be imposed on all cannabis-related products.
Although under NYC's MRTA, cannabis and THC are no longer considered Schedule 1 drugs and have been descheduled, the governor has stated that some restrictions on possession or production will still be subjected.