ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that officially decriminalizes marijuana use in New York State.
The legislation reduces unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by fine, and creates a process for individuals convicted of certain marijuana offenses to have their records expunged, according to the governor’s office.
“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,” Cuomo said in a press release.
The bill till take effect 30 days after becoming law.
According to the governor’s office, this legislation will make marijuana enforcement fairer and more equitable by:
- Reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a violation punishable by a fine and removing criminal penalties for possession of any amount of marijuana under two ounces; and
- Creating a process for individuals with certain marijuana convictions to have their records expunged both retroactively and for future convictions.
“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,” Cuomo said in a press release.”
On August 28, the day the law took effect, Cuomo released a new statement:
“For too long communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana and have suffered the life-long consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction. Today is the start of a new chapter in the criminal justice system. By providing individuals a path to have their records expunged, including those who have been unjustly impacted based on their race or ethnicity, and reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a fine, we are giving many New Yorkers the opportunity to live better and more productive, successful and healthier lives.This law is long overdue, and it is a significant step forward in our efforts to end this repressive cycle and ultimately mend our discriminatory criminal justice process once and for all.”Gov. Andrew Cuomo