Sunday 15 December, 2019

New York state reduces penalties for marijuana possession

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

New York's governor has signed a bill reducing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The legislation signed into law Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes unlawful possession of marijuana a violation similar to a traffic ticket. It also reduces fines.

The penalty is $50 for possessing less than an ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for 1 to 2 ounces.

The law also creates a process that will allow some people to get past marijuana convictions expunged.

Cuomo calls the law "a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process."

State lawmakers considered legalizing marijuana for recreational use this year, but that legislation stalled.

Cuomo and the top leaders in the Legislature are all Democrats.

The law takes effect 30 days from Monday.

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