A bill introduced in the New York Senate would legalize marijuana for recreational use. Passage would also take a big step toward nullifying federal cannabis prohibition in practice in the Empire State.

Sen. Liz Krueger, along with nine co-sponsors, introduced Senate Bill 3040 to legalize recreational cannabis under a new regulatory regime enforced at the state-level. The legislation reads, in part: The intent of this act is to regulate, control, and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, generate millions of dollars in new revenue, prevent access to marijuana by those under the age of eighteen years, reduce the illegal drug market and reduce violent crime, reduce the racially disparate impact of existing marijuana laws, allow industrial hemp to be farmed in New York state, and create new industries and increase employment.

S3040 would permit individuals 18-or-older to possess, grow or transport “no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature, flowering plants, provided that the plants are grown in an enclosed, locked space, not openly or publicly, and that the marijuana is not sold.” Individuals would be permitted to grow marijuana in their domicile for personal consumption purposes only, unless first being licensed and regulated by the state.

Marijuana possession would still be illegal if an individual is under the age of 18 or consuming the product in public. Possession would be permitted as long as its up to “sixty-four ounces for any mixtures or substances containing marijuana in solid form, or more than two gallons for any mixtures or substances containing marijuana in liquid form, or more than one ounce of concentrated cannabis.”

If S3040 is successful during next year’s legislative session, New York would be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the state legislature rather than the ballot initiative process. Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as S3040 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.