ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law that will decriminalize smaller amounts of cannabis.
The bill to decriminalize cannabis will make minor possession a violation punishable by a ticket. The fine for possession of up to a single ounce is $50 and $200 for possession ranging from more than a single ounce to two ounces. The new law will take impact on August 27.
The new law also presents the chance for people previously convicted of low-level cannabis possession to have their records expunged. More than 360,000 people had been charged with cannabis possession from 2008-2017.
“By giving people who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by lowering draconian penalties, we are taking a vital step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice course of action,” mentioned Cuomo.
Men and women of colour are a great deal a lot more probably to be charged with cannabis possession in spite of working with the drug at about the exact same prices as caucasians. Cuomo mentioned the new law will aid address the disparity in arrests.
“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 mentioned in a statement.
New York has legalized cannabis for medicinal use and momentum has been creating for recreational legalization. Gov. Cuomo, initially a staunch opponent to cannabis reform, like medicinal use, has embraced recreational cannabis in the final year. In December he mentioned recreational legalization was a single of his top rated legislative priorities and linked tax revenues from sales as a way to fund repairs on New York City’s subway program. Efforts to legalize recreational use failed earlier this year and it is unclear when it will be taken up once again by lawmakers.
In spite of the setback, New York residents are largely supportive of cannabis legalization. A Siena Analysis Institute Poll performed final month identified that 55 % of New York residents supported recreational cannabis legalization though 40 % opposed.