NY, VA move to legalize marijuana

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Wednesday to legalize adult recreational marijuana use in the state.

Cuomo said the bill, which was approved by the state Assembly late on Tuesday night, would also wipe the slate clean for many people previously charged with marijuana crimes.

In a tweet he wrote:

"The bill creates automatic expungement of previous marijuana convictions that would now be legal... This is a historic day."

New York becomes the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Earlier on Wednesday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposed moving up the legalization of simple possession of the drug to July rather than wait until 2024.

Northam said racial disparities in prosecution of marijuana-related crimes prompted him to accelerate the timetable... after a report found Black residents were more than three times as likely to be arrested for possessing small amounts of the drug.

Meanwhile New York soon could start to reap the benefits of legalization.

Cannabis tax collection could reach $350 million annually and create up to 60,000 new jobs.