A bill signed into law 30 days ago takes effect today, partially decriminalizing marijuana possession (again). Residents across New York State can publicly possess or smoke up to 2 ounces of marijuana without criminal penalties.
The new law changes Marijuana Possession in the Fifth Degree from a low-level misdemeanor to a non-criminal violation. That means police, in theory, can’t arrest people but can only issue summonses that could lead to fines.
The maximum penalty is $50 for possessing less than one ounce of pot and a maximum of $200 for between one and two ounces.
But there are a WHOLE lot of caveats.
Violations are still trouble. A violation isn’t a criminal conviction, but they can still have significant consequences, according to Emma Goodman, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society. “It’s still something that shows up on your record and stays with you for a very long time,” she said. “And it can affect your ability to get jobs and housing and all of the things that criminal convictions can affect.” [Read more at Gothamist]
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