Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes Praises Governor Cuomo for Signing Marijuana Decriminalization Law Reduces Unlawful Possession of Marijuana to Violation Punishable by a Fine, Creates a Process for Expungement of Certain Low Level Marijuana Convictions
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing legislation (S.6579A/A.8420) that further decriminalizes marijuana use in New York State. New York’s existing marijuana laws have historically disproportionately impacted African American and Latino communities. This legislation addresses those racial and ethnic disparities by reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a fine, and by creating a process for individuals who have been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana to have their records expunged.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, “For too long
communities of color have been the target of discriminatory criminal justice policies and have suffered serious consequences for the possession of small amounts of marijuana, while others were never arrested or charged. 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.”
“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,” Governor 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.”
Majority Leader Peoples-Stokes and State Senator Liz Krueger (D) Manhattan, sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA-A.3506-C) aimed at legalizing adult use of marijuana which the legislature did not pass this last session. Peoples-Stokes remains dedicated to the legalization of adult use of marijuana.The Governor first proposed the further decriminalization of marijuana in 2013, and again in the FY 2020 Budget.
The bill will take effect 30 days after becoming law.