There were two important outcomes in the NYS Legislature addressing marijuana legalization in the final hours of the NYS Legislative session which ended in the early morning hours of June 21st.
The first outcome is that the effort to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in NYS failed to receive Legislative support in this year’s budget process or the Legislative process following the budget.
A broad coalition including: the NYS Teacher’s Association, and Sheriff’s Association, doctors, addiction treatment and prevention experts, parents groups, and others effectively identified serious deficiencies in the legislation in the areas of additional resources for prevention and treatment, inclusion of scientific studies on the negative impact of intensive marijuana use among adolescents and young adults related to brain development, and challenges regarding the regulatory issues related to the administration of retail points of sale, and utilization of the increased tax revenue.
The second important outcome is the decriminalization for possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana and making such possession a violation instead of a crime. Under this new decriminalization legislation, many low-level marijuana convictions will also be expunged. This legislation will also result a redressing of the disproportionate impact that arrests for small-scale possession have had on minority communities throughout NYS.