New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last month decriminalizing marijuana in the state. According to CBS New York, that bill will become law today.
The new law will expunge records of low level marijuana convictions statewide, which applies to roughly 25,000 people with close to 14,000 people in the five boroughs of New York City alone. This data is according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Someone who is found to be in possession of marijuana under two ounces would have been considered a criminal offense under previous laws, but that has been reduced to just a violation with a fine attached. The fine will be a $200 penalty that will be given to anyone with one to two ounces of marijuana, and all violations under one ounce will come with a $50 fine.
Cuomo issued a statement after signing the legislation.
“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, by providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing Draconian penalties,” he said. “We are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process.”
Lawmakers in New York agreed to settle on the decriminalization after they were not able to work out the details on a law that would make recreational use of marijuana legal in the state of New York.
Cuomo said that the lack of support for the law to make it legal halted the bills progression, but still views this as a win for the people in the state of New York.