New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill into law that reduces the penalties for possessing tiny amounts of marijuana, even though also permitting for the expungement of some previous offenses.
The law – which requires impact inside 30 days – alterations an unlawful possession of marijuana statute into a violation that is comparable to a website traffic ticket, alternatively of a criminal charge, reports the Linked Press. Beneath the new law, the maximum penalty is $50 for possessing much less than a single ounce of pot and a maximum of $200 for amongst a single and two ounces. The law also demands that records tied to low-level marijuana situations be automatically sealed and creates a approach for expungement.
“Communities of colour have been disproportionately impacted by-laws governing marijuana for far as well extended, and nowadays we are ending this injustice when and for all,” stated Governor Cuomo in a statement. Advocates for legal marijuana acknowledge the law is a step forward but also say it falls brief of addressing a internet of damaging consequences that come with maintaining marijuana illegal.
“Police have historically identified a way to perform about the decriminalization of marijuana,” stated Erin George, of Citizen Action of New York.
Folks can nevertheless face probation violations and immigration consequences beneath the decriminalization bill, George stated.
Emma Goodman, a employees lawyer at The Legal Help Society, noted that the group’s consumers nevertheless threat becoming separated from their household by a kid protective agency for simple marijuana possession.
“All of the collateral consequences of marijuana criminalization that harm communities of colour will continue to exist,” she stated.
Melissa Moore, New York state deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance, stated the law will continue to let authorities to target folks of colour and their communities for marijuana enforcement.
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 law will prompt the sealing of much more than 200,000 convictions for low-level marijuana offenses, according to the agency.
From 1978 via final year, about 917,000 arrests had been produced beneath an old criminal penalty for possession, state information shows. Final year, about 13,500 arrests had been produced beneath the criminal statute.
According to the AP, state lawmakers regarded as legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year, but that legislation stalled following state leaders failed to attain an agreement on essential particulars in the final days of the legislative session.