New York decriminalizes marijuana, reducing punishment for possession

New York decriminalized recreational marijuana use Monday.

News 12 Staff

Jul 30, 2019, 5:33 PM

Updated 1,781 days ago

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New York decriminalized recreational marijuana use Monday, reducing the punishment for possession of small amounts of the drug to fines rather than jail time.
“For 45 years we have locked people up for marijuana use, and it hasn’t got us very far,” says drug treatment expert Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds “They belong in treatment not in jail.”
The legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes unlawful possession of marijuana a violation.
The penalty is $50 for possessing less than 1 ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for 1 to 2 ounces.

Gov. Cuomo has argued that current marijuana laws disproportionately affect African American and Latino communities in New York.

The law also requires that records tied to low-level marijuana cases be automatically sealed and creates a process for expungement. It will take effect 30 days from Monday.
“I think there are too many people in jail for small offenses like this, that taxpayers are paying for,” says Ann Marie Grecco, of Hicksville.
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.


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