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New Pot Decriminalization Laws Take Effect Statewide

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A new statewide law decriminalizing the adult use of marijuana takes effect today (August 29), which reduces penalties for small possession amounts and allows for certain marijuana convictions to be expunged.

Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is now a violation punishable by a $50 fine, with a maximum fine of $200 for possession of 1-2 ounces.

There will be no criminal charges filed in any possession cases of under two ounces.

“Today is the start of a new chapter in the criminal justice system,” said Governor Cuomo. “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.”

Cuomo signed decriminalization into law last month, after lawmakers tried and failed to legalize adult recreational use before the end of the legislative session in June.

Supporters say the old laws disproportionately affected African American and Latino communities for years.

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