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What the Deal to Legalize Marijuana Means for New Yorkers


Weather: Rain and thunderstorms early, partially clearing later. Wind gusts could reach 50 m.p.h.; high in the mid-70s. Saturday: sunny and mid-60s, with a stiff breeze. Sunday: rainy and cooler.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sunday (Passover).


After years of failed attempts, recreational marijuana may soon be legal in New York.

On Thursday, state officials finalized a deal to legalize the drug for adults 21 and older, paving the way for a potential $4.2 billion industry that could create tens of thousands of jobs and make New York one of the nation’s largest marijuana markets.

Still, even if the bill is approved, the first legal sales would not be likely to begin for more than a year while officials determine how the heavily regulated industry will operate.

[Read more about how officials struck the deal, and the details of the plan.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The deal would eliminate penalties for the possession of less than three ounces of cannabis and permit club-like lounges or “consumption sites” where marijuana, but not alcohol, could be consumed, according to details obtained by The New York Times.

It would also allow individuals to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home for personal use, while significantly expanding the list of medical conditions covered under the state’s existing medical marijuana program.

The final language of the legislation was still being reviewed on Thursday. But my colleague Luis Ferré-Sadurní was told that a bill could pass the State Legislature as soon as next week.

One 2018 analysis found that Hispanic people across New York City had been arrested on low-level marijuana charges at five times the rates of white people in recent years.

The disparity was starker for Black people, who in Manhattan were arrested at 15 times the rate of white people. Government surveys have shown that Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates.

Officials hope the deal will help end those imbalances. They have crafted it with a focus on making amends in communities affected by the war on drugs, with millions of dollars in tax revenue from sales set to be reinvested in those communities each year.

“For me, this is a lot more than about raising revenue,” said Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, a Democrat from Buffalo. “It’s about investing in the lives of the people that have been damaged.”

More than a dozen other states have taken similar steps — putting pressure on officials in New York to follow suit. The drug was recently legalized for recreational use in New Jersey, though sales remain distant.


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The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

Although many performance spaces, museums and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

On Friday at 3 p.m., learn about the history of New York radio through six disc jockeys in the 1940s and 1950s, plus a post-discussion Q. and A.

Purchase a ticket ($10) on the event page.

Watch the premiere of personal reflections of the Lower East Side on Friday at 7 p.m. in videos produced by Lower East Side residents and New York City-based filmmakers. The event is a fund-raiser, and donations will support the Henry Street Settlement’s Food Access Initiative.

R.S.V.P. for free on the event page.

On Sunday at 4 p.m., listen to a reading of short stories by American women in the 19th century, in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Visit the event page to access the free livestream.

It’s Friday — enjoy it.


Dear Diary:

All my life I have been told I have a heavy footfall. My father used to wonder how such a small person could make such large racket. My childhood ballet teacher reprimanded each of my steps by commanding, “Toe, heel, please!”

More than two decades later, I learned the hard way that grace still eluded me.

I had just moved into a new apartment when my downstairs neighbor knocked on my door. He had seen and, apparently, heard several tenants come and go over the years.

“I’ve never heard anything like it,” he complained. “Even my grandson wonders what goes on up there.”

I tiptoed and toe-heeled carefully for several weeks, but I must have fallen back into my old ways because there a sharper knock on my door about a month later and another one a few months after that.

I began to lose sleep over the sleep my neighbor was losing because of my footsteps.

Determined to make things right, I began to wear socks all the time to cushion my heels’ impact on the floor, tried to limit the pacing around that I sometimes do when I’m working from home and consciously tried to glide from room to room.

So my heart sank when just before the holidays, I heard another knock and saw my neighbor staring back through the peephole.

“My name is Fitz,” he said when I opened the door, offering a hand and a smile for the first time since we had met a year earlier. He handed me a basket of fruits and cheeses. “I just wanted to apologize if I was too harsh and say thank you. The noise has been much better.”

— Madeline Berg

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Creamy No-Bake Carrot Cake – Joy the Baker