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Marijuana decriminalization law goes into effect

Posted at 10:55 AM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 10:55:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It is no longer a criminal penalty in the State of New York to be caught with small amounts of marijuana.

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.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement Wednesday:

"For too long communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana and have suffered the life-long consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction.

"Today is the start of a new chapter in the criminal justice system. By providing individuals a path to have their records expunged, including those who have been unjustly impacted based on their race or ethnicity, and reducing the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana to a fine, we are giving many New Yorkers the opportunity to live better and more productive, successful and healthier lives.

"This law is long overdue, and it is a significant step forward in our efforts to end this repressive cycle and ultimately mend our discriminatory criminal justice process once and for all."