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DW-New York.While in session last month, the New York Senate
passed legislation to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
“Communities of color have borne the brunt of
New York State’s marijuana drug laws. Our justice system directly reflects who
we are as a society and that is why the Senate Majority is taking action to fix
this broken system,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.
According to a New York Senate press release,
black citizens are eight times more likely to be arrested for misdemeanor
marijuana possession than their non-black and latino counterparts. Latinos are
five times more likely.
The new law would make marijuana possession
punishable by fine, rather than criminal charges that could lead to
imprisonment. The legislation would also expunge certain former violations for
individuals. However, any possession of amounts greater than two ounces would
not be protected by this law.
Prior to this decriminalization, marijuana
charges could bar an individual’s ability to attain certain jobs and housing.
So far, 10 states have fully legalized the drug
and 16 others have decriminalized it.