NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A New York State law decriminalizing marijuana takes effect today.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure last month.
"Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all," he said in a statement at the time. "By providing individuals who have suffered the consequences of an unfair marijuana conviction with a path to have their records expunged and by reducing draconian penalties, we are taking a critical step forward in addressing a broken and discriminatory criminal justice process."
Under the new law, residents with low-level marijuana convictions will automatically have their records expunged.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services estimates nearly 14,000 people from the five boroughs and nearly 11,000 others statewide will qualify.
Also under the new law, marijuana possession under two ounces will be considered a violation, instead of a criminal offense.
The penalty is $50 for possessing less than an ounce, or a maximum of $200 for 1-2 ounces.
The state legislature failed to legalize marijuana by the end of last session.
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