New York state took a step toward a lot more progressive marijuana laws. Especially, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new decriminalization bill.
The new bill will amend how the state bargains with possession of tiny amounts of marijuana. Importantly, the bill will also deliver a way for people’s records to be expunged.
In the end, Cuomo stated the new bill could support address the ongoing racial disparities inherent to cannabis prohibition laws.
New York State’s New Decriminalization Bill
Earlier right now, Gov. Cuomo signed Senate Bill S6579A. The major concentrate of the bill is to decriminalize the possession and use of tiny amounts of cannabis. Along the way, the bill also consists of provisions created to address some of the social inequities of anti-cannabis policing.
The bill will go into complete impact in New York 30 days soon after it becomes law. Beneath the terms of the new bill, it is no longer a criminal offense to possess or consume two ounces or much less of cannabis.
Rather, these kinds of offenses will be punishable by a basic charge. Especially, possessing or consuming in between 1 to two ounces of marijuana will be punishable by a $200 fine. And possession or use of much less than 1 ounce of cannabis will be punishable by a $50 fine.
Decriminalization bills like this 1 mainly impact cannabis law moving forward. In massive aspect, they are created to support limit the heavy-handedness of marijuana policing. But in an work to extend the positive aspects of New York’s new decriminalization bill into the previous, the law will also deliver a way for preceding marijuana offenses to be expunged.
Especially, folks convicted of particular kinds of low-level possession charges will now have a way to get these charges removed from their records.
Operating Toward Social Equity
Cuomo and other lawmakers hope these two essential options of the bill will support address some of the social inequities of anti-marijuana policing.
“Communities of colour have been disproportionately impacted by-laws governing marijuana for far as well lengthy, and right now we are ending this injustice when and for all,” Cuomo stated in a statement.
He continued: “By offering folks who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by decreasing draconian penalties, we are taking a crucial step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice approach.”
A study from John Jay College of Criminal Justice published in February 2019 showed how disparate policing is in New York. Especially, it located that “Blacks and Hispanics regularly had larger prices of arrest for misdemeanor marijuana possession compared to Whites.”
Cannabis Laws in New York
This is not the initial time Gov. Cuomo has attempted to decriminalize marijuana. In reality, he initially proposed it back in 2013. And earlier this year, he truly place the possibility of complete legalization on the table.
At the starting of the year, Gov. Cuomo stated he wanted to include things like legalization in the year’s price range. But issues at some point stalled out. In massive aspect, that was simply because early bills failed to look at social equity adequately.
For instance, progressive lawmakers raised various essential issues. Especially, a lot of worried that there had been no provisions to guarantee that communities of colour have a stake in the future legal business.