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New York poised to legalize recreational pot

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New York was poised on Tuesday to pass a bill legalizing recreational pot — with the state Senate passing the legislation and the Assembly set to vote later in the evening.

The state Senate greenlit the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act by a 40 to 23 vote after hours of debate that extended into the night.

The state Assembly is expected to follow and approve the bill later Tuesday.

The legislation, finalized over the weekend, would take cannabis off the list of controlled substances and allow those 21 and older to use the drug freely. Legal sales would follow as early as next year.

It means the Empire State would join 14 states, two territories and Washington, DC in legalizing adult use of marijuana.

James MacWilliams prunes a marijuana plant that he is growing indoors in Portland, Maine.
The NYS Assembly will vote on the legislation later Tuesday.
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

The bill would establish an Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board charged with regulating and licensing the state’s adult-use program, existing medical marijuana program and hemp program.

The legislation could bring $350 million in annual taxes and potentially create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs, officials have said.

Tax revenue would flow into a special revenue fund, with 40 percent going to the State Lottery Fund for education, 40 percent to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund for new social and economic equity programs and 20 percent to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund.

“Passage of this bill will mean not just legalizing marijuana, but investing in education and our communities, and bring to an end decades of disproportionately targeting people of color under state and federal drug laws,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement.

“This legal industry will create jobs across our state, including for those who have had their lives upended by years of unjust drug laws.”

Under the bill, individuals would be able to grow up to three “mature” cannabis plants and three “immature” plants for personal use, with a 12-plant limit per household.

There would also be a 3-ounce limit for personal possession, and a 5-pound maximum-possession limit at home for individuals.

Cannabis product boxes are displayed at the 2019 Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition trade show in NYC.
Cannabis product boxes are displayed at the 2019 Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition trade show in NYC.
Mike Segar/Reuters

Cities, towns and villages would also be able to opt out from having adult-use dispensaries or social consumption sites locally.

There would also be newly assessed penalties for possession and driving under the influence.

Once it passes the state legislature, the bill then move to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, where he is expected to sign it.



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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

Ferry1

An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

Ferry3

The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”



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