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New York State law decriminalizing marijuana goes into effect Wednesday

(WBNG) — Wednesday marks the first day for the decriminalization of marijuana in New York State.

The law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July, will now turn the misdemeanor offense into a violation. Meaning, if you are caught with under two ounces of marijuana, you will receive a ticket to appear in court. If convicted, it will be a $50 dollar fine.

“Being that this new legislation decriminalizes marijuana and changes it from a misdemeanor offense to a violation level offense, it would not appear on your criminal history,” said Captain Kate Newcomb with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office.

Prior to the new legislation, if one received a misdemeanor for marijuana possession, that conviction would stay on your criminal history indefinitely. If one received a conviction before the new law became active, the new language states the following:

“All records related to such convictions shall be expunged and the matter shall be considered terminated in favor of the accused and deemed a nullity,” said Captain Newcomb.

She says jails, like the Broome County Jail, typically do not house individuals with minor offenses such as marijuana possession.

“It’s not like our jail is full of people with criminal possession of marijuana level offenses. However, they may have other charges where they find themselves incarcerated, and that may be one of many offenses,” said Captain Newcomb.

Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance in New York State, and will be confiscated by police and marked as evidence.

Katie Jones

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