The law, which requires impact in 30 days, will make it so that possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is punishable by a $50-$200 fine with no jail time. Cuomo stated the state’s current cannabis policy has disproportionately impacted communities of colour and, with the signing of the legislation, “we are ending this injustice as soon as and for all.”
“By supplying men and women 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 vital step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice method,” he stated in a press release.
I just signed legislation decriminalizing marijuana use in New York & building a method for expunging previous convictions.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 29, 2019
When reform advocates celebrated the improvement, it is not the complete legalization bill that lots of hoped would pass ahead of the finish of the legislative session. Cuomo, who integrated legalization in his price range proposal and negotiated with lawmakers all through the year to get a bill to his desk, in the end stated a deal couldn’t be reached in time.
Debates more than how to allocate tax income from cannabis sales and no matter whether to let person jurisdictions to opt out of enabling marijuana firms operate had been two important challenges that derailed the legalization push.
Decriminalization expansion proved a lot easier to achieve, with the Senate and Assembly approving the legislation in the closing hours of the session final month.
Sen. Jamaal Bailey (D), sponsor of the bill, stated that building a “mechanism for expungement, each retroactively and forward-seeking, is a step in the proper path in lastly ending the heavy-handed war on drugs that has decimated communities of colour.”
Supplying for expungements was a major priority for legalization advocates, who argued that establishing a legal cannabis market place that would produce financial possibilities would have to be accompanied by a pathway to clear records for these with previous marijuana convictions.
“This law is an crucial step in righting decades of injustice triggered by the state’s present drug laws,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D) stated. “Decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records for these with low level offenses will go a extended way towards assisting our communities, and specifically men and women of colour, who have been devastated by them.”
“By removing the barriers and stigma that come with these records, we clear the path for lots of New Yorkers to come across a job, housing and go on to reside effective and productive lives,” he stated.
Kevin Sabet, president of the prohibitionist group Intelligent Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), stated the legislation is not “perfect,” but there’s “no use creating fantastic the enemy of fantastic.”
Not a fantastic bill, but no use creating fantastic the enemy of fantastic.
This is widespread sense legislation we are proud of – and it is the sensible option to legalization, which we will not let take place @learnaboutsam https://t.co/B9Kig4hINC
— Kevin Sabet (@KevinSabet) July 29, 2019
“This is widespread sense legislation we are proud of,” he stated, arguing that SAM contributed to the defeat of marijuana legalization in the state whilst holding up decrim expansion as an option.
Sen. Diane Savino (D), a longtime champion of cannabis reform, responded to the bill’s signing by stating that decriminalization is just “[s]light progress… result in you are nevertheless getting it from criminals, just sayin.”
Slight progress…cause you are nevertheless getting it from criminals, just sayin’
— Senator Diane Savino (@dianesavino) July 29, 2019
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) stated that decriminalization “is an important element of reforming our state’s broken justice technique.”
“For also extended, communities of colour have been disproportionately targeted and negatively impacted,” she stated. “The Senate Democratic Majority will continue our efforts for complete legalization and regulation of marijuana, and today’s decriminalization is a fantastic 1st step.”
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes (D) stated that men and women of colour “have been the target of discriminatory criminal justice policies and have suffered critical consequences for the possession of little amounts of marijuana, whilst other individuals had been by no means arrested or charged.”
“By decriminalizing marijuana use in New York as soon as and for all, we are ending this repressive cycle that unfairly targets specific communities,” she stated.
By decriminalizing Marijuana use in New York as soon as and for all, we are ending this repressive cycle that unfairly targets specific communities. I thank @NYGovCuomo for signing this bill and for taking this vital step forward in the name of equality!
— CrystalPeoplesStokes (@CPeoplesStokes) July 29, 2019
Efforts to legalize cannabis also stalled and failed in neighboring New Jersey this year, with lawmakers stating that the problem would be left up to voters as a 2020 ballot measure. In Illinois, meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) produced fantastic on his campaign guarantee and signed a legalization bill final month.
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Photo components courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Carlos Gracia.