Legislators in Albany passed a bill this week decriminalizing marijuana. The new bill lowers the fines for being caught with a small amount, preventing jail time as a result.

The Democrat-led Senate passed the bill early Thursday evening, 39-23, and the Assembly followed later that night.

Although legislators still have not been able to advance a bill to fully legalize marijuana, the decriminalization bill is seen as a positive step forward, making it so anything up to one ounce of marijuana can only be punished with a fine of up to $50–down from $100– while two ounces can only be punished with a fine of up to $200, eliminating potential jail time.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in a statement on Friday called the bill “a long overdue step in delivering justice to communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.”

“… We are turning the page on decades of flawed policies that mostly served to incarcerate men and women of color. The convictions, in particular, held many people of color back from accessing jobs, housing, education, and much more, and expunging these records is a good step toward righting past wrongs,” said Adams.

The bill also gets rid of a loophole in the previous marijuana decriminalization bill that fined users for having cannabis in public view and lets people expunge past marijuana convictions, benefitting as many as 600,000 New Yorkers.

“I hope that we can build on this success in the next session, fully legalizing marijuana while imposing safeguards to protect public health and allow competition in a regulated marketplace,” Adams added.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.

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  1. Don’t be fooled by marijuana “decriminalization” because citizens are still going to be treated like common criminals for marijuana under it. This is what desperate anti-marijuana prohibitionist types will now settle for.

    They also fail to mention the additional huge cost of court costs which can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars on top of the relatively small ticket/fine.

    If you fail to pay these very expensive and often unaffordable court costs you will be in “the system” as a criminal. With a warrant out for your arrest and incarceration.

    This policy still allows marijuana to be used as a tool and probable cause by law enforcement to investigate marijuana consumers for no other reason other than even the detection of the scent of marijuana by law enforcement.

    Overall, decriminalization through it’s hidden, super expensive court costs and mandatory summons to appear in court, combined with the allowance of marijuana to still be used by law enforcement as a tool and probable cause still allows marijuana to be an ordinary. otherwise law abiding citizen’s introduction into the criminal justice system.

    No thanks! If this so called policy of marijuana “decriminalization” truly means marijuana is no longer supposed to be a “crime”, then why are marijuana consumers still going to be treated like criminals under it?

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws as the drinkers of alcohol. Plain and simple!

    Citizens will STILL be forced to the dangerous black market and a shady illegal street drug dealer to purchase their marijuana. Getting caught buying it is STILL a crime they will arrest and jail you for. Then, they will also most likely try to FORCE you to either mandatory community service and/or rehab, and if you don’t comply, guess what? JAILTIME!

    Also, we will still be wasting our tax dollars sending police around to write summons to marijuana users and wasting police manpower and resources.

    Instead of allowing our police the time, manpower and resources to protect us all from real, dangerous criminals who actually commit crimes with victims and pose a real threat to society.

    Why else do you think some politicians are so EAGER to “decriminalize”, instead of LEGALIZE?

    Don’t Let’em Fool Us!!!

    If you can’t purchase it legally, then it isn’t legal.

    If you have to fear a monetary fine/ticket which if you don’t pay and/or show up in court to handle, you then become a criminal with a warrant out for your arrest, and when convicted (yes convicted, as in crime.) you will then be forced into free manual labor and/or forced drug rehabilitation to be used as another statistic prohibitionists love to flaunt about supposed “marijuana addicts”, then….No, it’s not legal!

    This will not suffice! Getting caught purchasing marijuana is still considered a serious “drug deal” and you will be prosecuted for it!

    DEMAND FULL MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION NATIONWIDE!

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