Today, New York State made a major jump towards the legalization of marijuana by decriminalizing recreational marijuana use and possession. This means that simple possession, less than 2 ounces, will only result in an appearance ticket and a violation level offense, not a misdemeanor.
In addition, the change in the New York State Marijuana Laws will enable former misdemeanor marijuana offenders to seal their marijuana conviction and then create a process for complete expungement.
Eleven U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have fully legalized recreational marijuana use since Colorado first did so in 2014, according to the Marijuana Policy Project lobbying group. Another 15 states including New York have decriminalized it.
Over 360,000 people were arrested for possession of marijuana in the state of New York from 2008 to 2017, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At least 24,400 people will no longer have a criminal record due to the bill, according to New York’s Division of Criminal Justice Services.The law will prompt the sealing of more than 200,000 convictions for low-level marijuana offenses, according to the agency.