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HomeCannabisNew York Strikes Deal To Decriminalize Marijuana At The 11th Hour

New York Strikes Deal To Decriminalize Marijuana At The 11th Hour

While it wasn’t exactly the expansion marijuana advocates desired in New York, the state took a significant step toward marijuana reform nonetheless in the closing moments of its legislative session. Lawmakers agreed to further decriminalize cannabis in New York and automatically expunge low-level marijuana offenses across the state. The bill will head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, who is expected to sign it into law.

This is no doubt a big deal for New Yorkers. Possession up to two ounces will now be considered a violation, rather than a crime. Those caught with less than an ounce will face a $50 fine while up to two ounces will net a $200 penalty.

RELATED: New York To Stop Testing Would-Be Employees For Marijuana

“This is not the final step, but it will lay the groundwork for full decriminalization and legalization,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement.

The measure was the state legislature’s apparent Plan B after talks stalled, and eventually crumbled, around legalizing cannabis for adult-use in New York. Gov. Cuomo had made grand gestures toward pushing through such legislation, and some even thought there was a possibility of a last-second deal, but nothing of that nature came to fruition.

Cuomo was high on the decriminalization bill, saying in an interview with WMAC this will make a big difference for those unfairly punished by the criminal justice system.

“It does a lot, makes a major change,” Cuomo said in the radio interview. “It makes the situation much better especially for the black and brown community that has paid such a high price.”



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