New York cuts penalties for marijuana possession | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

New York cuts penalties for marijuana possession

Associated Press
1471953_web1_marijuana
File photo

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s governor signed a bill Monday that softens penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana and allows for the expungement of some past convictions.

The legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes unlawful possession of marijuana a violation.

The penalty is $50 for possessing less than one ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for one to two ounces.

The law also requires that records tied to low-level marijuana cases either be marked as expunged or destroyed. It takes effect 30 days from Monday.

“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Advocates for legal marijuana acknowledge the law is a step forward but also say it falls short of addressing a web of negative consequences that come with having marijuana as an illegal violation.

“Police have historically found a way to work around the decriminalization of marijuana,” said Erin George, of Citizen Action of New York.

People can still face probation violations and immigration consequences under the decriminalization bill, George said.

Melissa Moore, New York state deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said the law will continue to allow authorities to target people of color and their communities for marijuana enforcement.

At least 24,400 people will no longer have a criminal record due to the bill, according to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The law will prompt the sealing of more than 200,000 convictions for low-level marijuana offenses, according to the agency.

State lawmakers considered legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year, but that legislation stalled after state leaders failed to reach an agreement on key details in the final days of the legislative session.

Cuomo and the top leaders in the Legislature are all Democrats.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.