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New

York’s A08420 / S06579, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Peoples-


Stokes and Senator Jamaal Bailey, was approved by the New York Assembly and
Senate on June 21, 2019. If Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the measure, as expected, it
will further reduce cannabis possession penalties and automatically expunge many
misdemeanor cannabis convictions. A08420 / S06579 will take effect 30 days after
becoming law.

Decriminalization:

• Cannabis in “public view” will no longer be a misdemeanor offense. For years,
the “public view” exception was abused by law enforcement, resulting in tens
of thousands of arrests and all of the collateral consequences that come with
an arrest.
• The penalty for possessing about an ounce of cannabis (possession in the
second degree) will be reduced from a $100 fine to a $50 fine.
• The possession limit for cannabis possession in the first degree is increased
slightly from 25 grams to one ounce, and the penalty is reduced from a
misdemeanor to no more than a $200 fine. Currently, first-degree cannabis
possession — which now includes cannabis in public view — can result in up
to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.

Expungement:

• Cannabis possession arrests and convictions for amounts decriminalized
under this measure will be automatically expunged. Automatic expungement
will apply to convictions prior to decriminalization.

In addition, the measure will expand the Clean Indoor Air Act’s definition of smoking
to include cannabis. This means the penalties and prohibitions for cigarette smoking
in prohibited locations (and for employers and business owners allowing cigarette
smoking) would also apply to cannabis smoking.