New York Marijuana Possession Charges Would be Sealed Under Measure Approved by Assembly

With a 95 to 38 vote, New York’s full Assembly has given approval to a bill that would seal the criminal records of those charged with possessing marijuana.

According to government statistics, there have been over 800,000 people arrested in New York for simple cannabis possession in the last 20 years, making the reaches of this measure widespread. Assembly Bill 2142 now moves to the Senate, where its passage would send it to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final consideration.

“I introduced the marijuana sealing bill because drug laws have created a permanent underclass of people unable to find jobs after a conviction,” says Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the bill’s primary sponsor. “One of the most damaging issues derived from the war on drugs is that the policies are inherently racist. Communities of color have been devastated by bad drug policies and hyper-criminalization for the last 40 years.”

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Legislation to Legalize Marijuana Filed in New York

Companion measures that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and older have been filed in New York’s House and Senate.

Senate Bill 3040 and Assembly Bill 3506 would legalize the possession and use of up to two ounces of cannabis for those 21+. The limit would be twice as much as allowed in most legal cannabis states like Colorado where the max is one ounce, but would be less than Maine’s new law that allows 2.5 ounces.

The proposals would also allow for the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, and would establish a licensed, regulated and taxed system of cannabis retail outlets and cultivation centers.

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