New York State will erase convictions of low-level marijuana crimes, as part of a new law.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services estimates 13,537 individuals from the five boroughs, plus another 10,872 people across the state, will automatically qualify to have their records retroactively cleared. “24,000 people will have no criminal record,” explained David Soares, Albany County district attorney to the New York Post.
Low-level marijuana crimes include convictions of unlawful marijuana possession and possession of marijuana as a class B misdemeanor, two examples of charges that will be expunged from records of thousands of New Yorkers. The change also heralds adjustments to possession laws, as possession of under 2 ounces will be met with a maximum fine of $200. For under 1 ounce, offenders will be fined $50.
As marijuana has been legalized across states like California, Colorado and others, a new multibillion dollar industry has opened up, bringing into question those – disproprortionately communities of color – who are still imprisoned for prior offenses, which would no longer be crimes under new laws.
Read the full statement from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on the official New York State homepage.