Unable to pass an anticipated bill to legalize marijuana in the state, New York’s state Senate and Assembly passed a bill on Thursday night to decriminalize the drug. Under the new regulation, small scale cannabis possession charges would be roughly equivalent to getting a parking ticket; $50 for under an ounce and $200 for under two ounces.
The bill was passed mere hours before the end of the Senate’s 2019 session, and passed the state Assembly on Friday morning shortly before that body recessed for the year.
Its sponsor was Democrat Senator from the Bronx Jamaal Bailey, who said small scale marijuana possession charges can derail individuals’ lives, “limiting their access to housing, access to education, affecting their ability to obtain employment.”
A collective moan could almost be heard coming out of the Empire State after Senator Liz Krueger announced on Wednesday that the more comprehensive legalization bill was DOA. The bill was a stated priority of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who hoped to pass the legislation within the first 100 days of his administration.
But it soon became clear that Cuomo lacked the political power to push through certain aspects of the legislation that were not so easy to resolve