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 men and women previously convicted of low-level cannabis possession to have their records expunged. More than 360,000 men and women had been charged with cannabis possession from 2008-2017.
“By giving men and women who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by decreasing draconian penalties, we are taking a important step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice procedure,” mentioned Cuomo.
Persons of colour are considerably extra probably to be charged with cannabis possession regardless of applying the drug at about the identical prices as caucasians. Cuomo mentioned the new law will enable address the disparity in arrests.
“Communities of colour have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far also lengthy, and nowadays we are ending this injustice after 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, which includes medicinal use, has embraced recreational cannabis in the final year. In December he mentioned recreational legalization was a single of his leading legislative priorities and linked tax revenues from sales as a way to fund repairs on New York City’s subway technique. Efforts to legalize recreational use failed earlier this year and it is unclear when it will be taken up once more by lawmakers.
In spite of the setback, New York residents are largely supportive of cannabis legalization. A Siena Investigation Institute Poll carried out final month discovered that 55 % of New York residents supported recreational cannabis legalization even though 40 % opposed.