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New York Decriminalizes Cannabis Possession Starting Aug. 27

July 29, 2019
new york marijuana, decriminalization of marijuana, cannabis
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s governor signed a bill Monday that softens penalties for possessing small amounts of cannabis and allows for the expungement of some past convictions.

After Aug. 27 it'll be a $50 ticket for under one ounce, or $200 for one to two ounces, statewide.

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

The penalty is $50 for possessing less than one ounce, 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 after the governor signs the bill into law. August 27 will be the law’s effective date.

“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.

No Stop-and-Frisk Relief

Advocates for cannabis legalization acknowledge the law is a step forward but also say it falls short of addressing a web of negative consequences that come with having cannabis 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 cannabis enforcement.


This One Chart Captures Everything Wrong With NYC Cannabis Arrests

Expungements and Record Sealing

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 cannabis for adult 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.


Is Cannabis Legal in New York City? Well…It’s Complicated

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  • FlunkedAgain

    Good News for Massachusetts.

  • I’m happy to hear this …

  • Rich Sherman

    The Federal Goverment has an F on Cannabis. They continue to perpetuate incorrect information while blocking research. To categorize Cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance is a national disgrace with global implications. The fear mongering and national brainwash defied logic and truth. But the most disturbing fact about our Federal Government is their consistent lack of information and ignorance. When the heads of the DEA and ATF testify before Congress, they are unable to answer even the most elementary of questions. The incompetence of the Federal Government in Drug policies is killing people with Fentanyl, K2, Meth and a host of synthetic versions of dangerous substances that are scheduled as safe for use under medical supervision, a other lie. As big money and the Feds collude, people die. The black market is empowered by failed policies. It is time for the Federal Government to correct the insanity of Cannabis as a schedule 1 substance. We owe this to our Children and all future generations who deserve a safe and regulated Cannabis market. Over 21 use, and the jailing of Doctors who are involved in prescribing dangerous drugs to innocent patients who get hooked and die. This is a fantastic coming together of these states to stop the insanity and shine the light of truth to their tax payers.