Cuomo budget plan calls for taxing legal marijuana sales

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a $178 billion state budget proposal Tuesday that includes a plan to raise money by taxing the sale of marijuana.

Sales to retail dispensaries will be taxed at 20% under the Democratic governor's proposal to legalize marijuana, which he called for in his 2020 State of the State address. It would also tax the cultivation of cannabis at $1 per gram of dry weight cannabis flower and 25 cents per gram of dry weight cannabis trim.

Cuomo's 2019 budget proposal included legalization of recreational marijuana, but it didn't end up in the final budget over disagreements on where an estimated $300 million in annual revenues from marijuana sales should go.

Lawmakers instead reduced criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.


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Cuomo, who has expressed concern over vaping-related illnesses, is calling for a new state university center to study cannabis and hemp. He also wants to work with neighboring states that are also considering legalization.

The governor's proposal would ban selling tobacco products in all pharmacies, including e-cigarettes.

Cuomo proposed a $176 billion budget last year, a 2% increase over the previous fiscal year.

The release of Cuomo's proposal launches a process that includes hearings, legislative spending proposals and tweaks from the governor ahead of a March 31 deadline. The governor has wide influence on the state budget, which has increasingly included policy proposals on top of spending.