New York decriminalizes Cannabis
The state of New York has decriminalized the use of marijuana. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill Monday that decriminalized the use of weed across the state. It also promises to expunge the records of some people convicted of marijuana-related offenses. The bill, which will take effect in 30 days, reduces possession of a marijuana to a misdemeanor offense punishable by just a fine.
Possession of any amount under two ounces will no longer be met by criminal penalties. In a statement, Cuomo said: ‘Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all.’ ‘By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.’
The bill established a process for people convicted of certain weed-related offenses to have their records cleared retroactively, according to The Hill., which applies to about 202,000 convictions. New York is now the 16th state to decriminalize cannabis use and possession, meaning it is no longer a offense punishable by jail.
Under the state’s new legislation, the penalty for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana is a $50 fine. A person caught in possession of one to two ounces can be punished by a fine of $200. New York lawmakers reportedly considered legalizing cannabis earlier this year, but Senate Democrats were unable to get enough support and the effort stalled in late June.
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