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N.Y.’s Soon-to-Be Legal Pot Stirs Debate on Taxes, Social Reform

  • Cuomo is seeking $100 million for communities hit by drug war
  • Black New Yorkers face higher arrest rate than White residents
Kassandra Frederique is New York State Director at the Drug

Photographer: Erik McGregor/LightRocket/Getty Images

With New York state on the precipice of legalizing marijuana, a fight is already brewing over how to spend what’s expected to be more than $300 million in annual tax revenue.

At issue is how much of the funds will go to the communities hardest-hit by the U.S. war on drugs. The state is trying to close a $15 billion deficit worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, while rent relief, small business recovery and other economic interests also vie for marijuana tax revenue.