ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Governor Cuomo has signed legislation that decriminalizes marijuana use in New York State.
The legislation will reduce the penalty for unlawfully possessing marijuana to a violation by a fine, and remove criminal penalties for possession of any amount under two ounces. It will also create 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 that this 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," the Governor 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."
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes represents Buffalo in the New York State Assembly. She said in part, "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."