Monday, January 30, 2023
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N.Y. Gov. Hochul Goes after Cigarette Smokers, Just Weeks after Legalizing Weed

'We set a course just nine months ago to start New York's adult-use cannabis market off on the right foot by prioritizing equity, and now, we're fulfilling that goal...'

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is implementing a hefty tax for cigarette smokers weeks after legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana.

According to Breitbart, the Democrat governor proposed a plan to raise the cigarette tax by another dollar, making the minimum cost for a pack of cigarettes $5.35.

Hochul legalized the sale of recreational weed in December under the guise of “equity,” increasing revenue for public schools and community revitalization.

“We set a course just nine months ago to start New York’s adult-use cannabis market off on the right foot by prioritizing equity, and now, we’re fulfilling that goal,” Hochul said.

“The industry will continue to grow from here, creating inclusive opportunity in every corner of New York State with revenues directed to our schools and revitalizing communities,” she added.

Critics pointed out the apparent incongruence between the two proposals, citing health issues on both sides.

Harvard University published a study last year documenting the cognitive decline of habitual pot smokers.

“Long-term cannabis users’ IQs declined by 5.5 points on average from childhood, and there were deficits in learning and processing speed compared to people that did not use cannabis.” wrote researcher Kevin Hill, the director of addiction psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“The more frequently an individual used cannabis, the greater the resulting cognitive impairment, suggesting a potential causative link,” Hill said.

A newly published report by Columbia University found that the rates of asthma among teenagers are rising in states that legalized marijuana—particularly in places with a greater population of minorities.

Research form the National Institutes of Health also pointed in a worrisome direction, linking marijuana use with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.

Additionally, it is unlikely that routine cigarette smokers will simply drop their habit due to rising prices. New Yorkers—and Americans who live in other states with high cigarette taxes—simply find ways to avoid the increased charge.

“Nationwide, New York continues to have the greatest rate of cigarette smuggling, with smuggled cigarettes accounting for 53.5 percent of total cigarette consumption in the state,” said the Tax Foundation a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, according to a recent analysis.

“New York also has one of the highest state cigarette taxes ($4.35 per pack), not counting the additional local New York City cigarette tax ($1.50 per pack), yielding a combined rate of $5.85 per pack,” it noted.

Marijuana is currently legal in 28 states, though some allow it only for medicinal purposes.

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