Almost 11,000 New Yorkers Will Get Marijuana Convictions Removed From Record
In a very surprising turn of events, New York has initiated the process to start expunging the records of people who hold low-level marijuana convictions. A new law meant to lower the penalties for marijuana-related crimes went into effect this past Wednesday. The law was originally passed in June this year.
Under this new law, 10,872 people in New York City will have their records automatically wiped of low-level marijuana convictions. But the effects won’t stop there. 13,357 other people throughout the state of New York will also see record of their marijuana convictions expunged.
The new law will also alter the classification of possessing one to two ounces of marijuana to a violation capped with a $200 fine. The fine for the possession of less than an ounce has also been lowered from $150 to $50.
Many people are celebrating the news of convictions being expunged as well as the lowered fine. Marijuana laws on the books in the past disproportionately criminalized marginalized communities for something many now feel should never have been considered a crime. This sentiment resounds across the United States, with many voters having decided to legalize cannabis in their state.
Last year, district attorneys in Brooklyn and Manhattan stopped prosecuting cases for cannabis possession and people found smoking it in public. This shift in attitude may be a sign that New Yorkers are readying themselves for full cannabis legalization in the near future.