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New York: Senate Lawmakers Fail to Act on Measure Equalizing Cannabis Possession Penalties

The New York State Senate has failed to act on legislation that would equalize marijuana possession penalties in New York before the end of this year's legislative session despite recent polling from Sienna College showing that 63% of New York State residents supported the measure and having the endorsement of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Under state law, the private possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana is a non-criminal civil citation, punishable by a $100 fine. By contrast, the possession of any amount of cannabis in public view is classified as a criminal misdemeanor [NY State Penal Law 221.10]. 

Equalizing these penalties so that all minor marijuana possession offenses qualify as civil violations under the law would have halted tens of thousands of expensive, racially biased marijuana arrests annually.

Members of the state Assembly previously approved legislation, A. 6716-A, by an 80 to 59 vote.

NORML will keep you updated on future reform efforts in New York.


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