The New York Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to reform the antiquated marijuana drug laws. The bill awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. The highlights of the bill include:
1. The decriminalization of marijuana possession up to two ounces. Possession of small amounts of marijuana will be a violation, not a crime.
2. Establish procedures for automatic record expungement both retroactively and for future convictions.
3. Reduce the penalty to a $50 fine regardless of criminal history for possession under one ounce, and a $200 fine regardless of criminal history for possession between one and two ounces.
4. Add marijuana to the definition of “smoking” under the Public Health Law so that smoking marijuana will be prohibited in any circumstances where smoking tobacco is prohibited by law.