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New York lawmakers reach marijuana legalization deal



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On Wednesday, New York State officials announced that they have reached a deal to legalize recreational marijuana, The Wall Street Journal reported. Assuming all goes according to plan, legalization would come into effect starting next year.

The deal would allow those in the Empire State to buy and possess up to three ounces of marijuana, as well as grow their own plants, according to The Journal.

The reform measures are planned to be taken up next week by the state Assembly and Senate, lawmakers said, per the newspaper. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has proposed legalizing marijuana in the state budget that is due by next week.

MORE ON MARIJUANA: Election 2020 Statewide Referendums: marijuana, mushrooms, wages, state flags, and more

According to the legislation, a 9% state tax would be levied on retail sales that could generate $300 million a year in new revenues, The Journal reported. Furthermore, cities, towns, and villages could impose an additional 4% sales tax or opt out of allowing local sales and deliveries.

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The deal reportedly includes the founding of a new state regulatory agency—the Office of Cannabis Management—to license growers, retail sales, delivery and on-premises consumption. Although, it was unclear when they might actually begin.

Want to get more details about this story? Then read the full Wall Street Journal report here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal



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In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.

Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.

Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.

Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.

Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.

Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.

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