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New York State decriminalizes marijuana use

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jul 29, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that decriminalizes marijuana use throughout the state.

The legislation reduces the penalty for unlawfully possessing marijuana to a violation by a fine, and removes criminal penalties for possession of any amount under two ounces. It also creates a process for people with certain marijuana convictions to have their records expunged.

Cuomo said New York's former marijuana laws disproportionately affected African-American and Latino communities, and the new law will address the racial and ethnic disparities.

"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. "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, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process."

"By decriminalizing marijuana use in New York once and for all, we are ending this repressive cycle that unfairly targets certain communities. I thank the Governor for signing this bill and for taking this critical step forward in the name of equality," Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes