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Experts Say NY’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law Could Be Improved

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New York recently decriminalized possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less. The new law also expunges the records of those that had previous low-level marijuana possession convictions. One expert says that marijuana possession, in some degree, has been decriminalized in New York since 1977 and this new law doesn’t really change much.

Fines are still imposed for possession of less than 2 ounces, but jail time is still possible for possessing more than 2 ounces, Daily Orange says. Possessing one ounce or less is a $50 fine. Fines for possessing between 1 and 2 ounces are $200. Possessing more than 2 ounces includes jail time and fines of $1,000 or more.

Nancy Udell of Empire State NORML said, “The expungement part of it really is the best part of the bill. The decriminalization part fails miserably.”

The legalization debate is continuing in the state but one of the biggest hang-ups for lawmakers is how the tax revenue from marijuana sales will be distributed and spent.

Some industry experts wonder what the point of decriminalizing possession of marijuana really is if people are still being fined. Experts and activists are hoping that New York will just legalize marijuana entirely sooner than later.