New York decriminalized cannabis Monday immediately after Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation — the 16th state to do so.
The law tends to make possession of a little quantity of cannabis (beneath two ounces) a violation rather than a felony, drawing a fine and not jail time.
Possession of much less than an ounce of cannabis is now topic to a fine of up to $50, although possession of two ounces can get you fined up to $200 in the state.
The legislation also creates a method which enables these who’ve been convicted of low-level cannabis possession in the previous to have their records expunged.
At least 24,400 folks will no longer have a criminal record due to the bill, according to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Solutions. The bill will come into impact in 30 days.
“Communities of colour have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far also extended, and now we are ending this injustice when and for all,” Governor Cuomo mentioned in a statement.
The fight for cannabis legalization and decriminalization has normally been paired with racial discrimination in the U.S. An evaluation by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that black folks are three.73 instances extra probably to be arrested due to cannabis than white folks amongst 2001 and 2011.
When U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (who’s also operating to the Democratic presidential nominee), introduced her bill to decriminalize cannabis nationwide, she stated that the expungement of records will enable these who had been disproportionately targeted.
New York is now the 16th state to decriminalize cannabis, although 11 other states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use. Hawaii was the final state to decriminalize cannabis earlier this month.
Cannabis is nonetheless a Schedule I drug on a federal level.
New York’s bill falls brief of Governor Cuomo’s purpose to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, which he mentioned in December was one particular of his leading legislative priorities for 2019.
Even though New York politicians had deemed legalizing recreational cannabis this year, they could not agree on various important points in the legislation, and it subsequently fell via.
Some argue that decriminalization does not go far sufficient to safeguard these who are unfairly prosecuted.
“Police have historically discovered a way to perform about the decriminalization of marijuana,” Erin George of Citizen Action of New York told the Related Press.
She argues folks can nonetheless face probation violations and immigration consequences, even if cannabis is decriminalized.