It’s official. New York State has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, as of today. Weed aficionados everywhere around the state are celebrating, as possession of up to two ounces is no longer punishable by arrest. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of legalization of cannabis did not happen, however, under the new legislation, possession of less than one ounce will garner a fine of $50, while possession of one to two ounces has a maximum fine of $200. This law takes effect in thirty days.
Besides these changes, Gov. Cuomo’s new decree enables those previously convicted in the state for possession of small amounts of “mary jane” to have their records expunged. NY state lawmakers did consider full legalization of marijuana for “recreational” use, however, the fine print was not agreed upon in time, so that piece of legislation was not passed in time. This new law takes aim at what Gov. Cuomo and other billed as unfair to minorities, impacting people of color disproportionately.